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Mar 17, 2010

Riera's future under a cloud after Benitez attack

Albert Riera has indicated a desire to leave Liverpool and launched an outspoken attack on Rafael Benitez - accusing the Reds manager of failing to communicate with his players and lacking the style to manage Real Madrid.

Riera, who has started only nine league games this season, labelled Liverpool a "sinking ship" after a poor season both domestically and in Europe and has placed his future at Anfield in some jeopardy by so publicly undermining his manager with withering criticism.

The winger is contemplating joining a Russian club in an attempt to underline his claims for a place in the Spain squad ahead of the World Cup. Riera has started only one game for Liverpool since January - the 1-0 Europa League victory over Unirea Urziceni on February 18.

And with his future now a matter for real debate, Riera is likely to have deeply angered Benitez by being so open and forthright in his criticism of the man who brought him to Anfield from Espanyol in an £8 million deal in September 2008.

He said: "This year has been difficult and he has not changed at all. When you see the ship is sinking and you don't change... I've been here for two years and I know how he is as a person. He's never resolved a situation with a player by speaking with him.

"He thinks he is in charge and he just turns a deaf ear to everyone else," Riera told Radio Marca. "The dialogue with the players is practically non-existent. There is a lack of tact.

"When the coach doesn't say anything to you and you are in good shape with no physical problems and training well, you have no choice but to think [the fact you are not playing] is personal.

"The team's playing badly and needs changes. If I'm doing something badly and you're my boss and you trust in me, then you would tell me what I am doing wrong and what I have to do to play. [The fact that Benitez has not said anything] is what most hurts."

Riera claims he has been the subject of interest from unnamed Russian clubs and appears keen to explore the possibility of moving to a country where the transfer window is currently open.

"Right now the only market open is the Russian one," Riera said. "I have offers from two clubs and, given my situation, that has made me reflect a lot... My objective is to go to the World Cup and for that to happen I have to play."

In a final criticism of Benitez, Riera also claimed the Liverpool boss would not be in demand should Manuel Pellegrini vacate the Real Madrid job at the end of the season. Riera said: "At Madrid they ask you to win and play lovely football. We [Liverpool] are effective, sure, but we don't play brilliant football."

Former Liverpool midfielder Dietmar Hamann has launched a withering attack on Riera.

"I didn't read too much into the comments because he's a player who has not played too much football over the last six to eight months,'' said the former Germany international.

"He is clearly frustrated but you have to say since he signed for Liverpool (in September 2008) he has not done enough to really have an opinion on the manager.

"If Riera is not in the team it is probably because he is not doing enough in training or in games. You have players these days who complain about managers and I think these players should look at themselves.

"The first question you have to ask when you are not playing is have you done enough to be in the team. These days it happens too often with players who can't get in the team and the first thing they do is blame the manager.

"I can honestly say I have never had a problem with a manager in 15 years of my career and I would never blame a manager for not playing.

"Every manager has his different styles and he may not talk, as other managers do, to his players but at the end of the day I always had a professional relationship with him.

"Every player is different and he does speak to players. If he didn't speak to Riera on this particular occasion there must have been a reason. I never really needed much conversation with the manager because his team selection told you everything most weeks.

"I think he was always pretty honest in terms of his team selection - he always did what he thought was best for the team.

"I think Liverpool are far from a sinking ship. They are having a bad season by their standards but not all hope is lost and there are eight or 10 weeks ahead of them so it is all to play for.

"It (Riera's outburst) is very disruptive and I don't know whether he will play any further part in the rest of the season. If he didn't it would be understandable from the manager's point of view.''

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