Riera backtracks over Rafa rant

BY foxsports • March 19, 2010

Liverpool winger Albert Riera has attempted to play down comments made in the Spanish media in which he heavily criticised boss Rafael Benitez.

The Spain international has been disciplined by Benitez and told not to return to the club's Melwood training ground until Monday after claiming in a radio interview in his homeland that Liverpool was a "sinking ship".

Riera, who has been largely frozen out of the Liverpool first team this season, also insisted Benitez's dialogue with his players is "practically nil".

Benitez was believed to be angered by the timing of the interview, which was broadcast on the eve of last night's Europa League tie with Lille, which the Merseysiders won 3-0 on the night for a 3-1 aggregate win.

In his latest interview, Riera claimed he does not want to court controversy with his manager, but nevertheless reiterated his belief that Benitez has "something personal" against him.

"I do not want to make trouble with the manager," Riera told Spain's Cadena Ser radio station in quotes reported by the Daily Telegraph.

"I am not interested in making Rafa my enemy in the slightest, quite the opposite, but ultimately it is about playing, and if I am not, we have to talk about why not.

"We have not had any talk about why it is.

"I played all of last year, and sometimes if I did not play so well in one game, I would still play the next week. But this season I have not played at all.

"When that starts happening, you have to assume it is something personal, rather than professional.

"I believe in these situations it is better to talk about it and try to fix it, or at least make sure everyone knows where they stand. I have no problem talking to people."

He added: "I am delighted to play for Liverpool and if I was playing, I would love to stay, because it is a brilliant place to play football.

"But if I am not playing I have no chance of going to the World Cup, so I am trying to solve the problem so I at least have a small chance."

Benitez will be keen to draw a line under the matter on Monday, with a fine the very least Riera can expect, although the Reds boss was remaining tight-lipped over the controversy after last night's win over Lille.

"The timing was not the best for the team and we will deal with this internally," was all Benitez would say on the matter.