Benitez bemoans Riera timing

Liverpool manager Rafael Benitez has admitted he is "disappointed" with Albert Riera's critical comments but does not intend to allow them to become a distraction ahead of Sunday's clash against Manchester United.

The 27-year-old has attempted to play down his comments made to a Spanish radio station when he criticised Benitez for not speaking to him and described the club as a "sinking ship".

However, it came too late to prevent him being suspended by the club until Monday, meaning he sat out last night's Europa League victory over Lille and will also miss the trip to Old Trafford

"The timing was very bad for the team and for the club because we were in a crucial moment," said Benitez

"I was really disappointed with this but we will deal with it internally.

"The team is doing well and we have to approach the [United] game with confidence."

Centre-back Daniel Agger said Riera's comments had not done anything to destabilise the dressing room and the players were professional enough to remain focused on doing their job.

"We had a game to worry about so we don't worry about comments in the media," said the Dane after Riera's outburst dominated headlines just hours before the 3-0 win over Lille which put them into the quarter-finals of the Europa League.

"I think it is important for the whole team to focus on the game, especially one as important as the one against Lille.

"We don't need to worry about everything around us - we need to be together."

Captain Steven Gerrard backed Benitez's management style and said the Reds boss was the only person in a position to comment on the performance of the team.

"He is the manager and he's allowed to criticise the team at the right time," said the England international.

In his latest interview, Riera maintained Benitez had "something personal" against him.

"I do not want to make trouble with the manager," Riera reportedly told Spain's Cadena Ser radio station.

"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.

"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."

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
peopleMathematician John Nash inspired the film Beautiful Mind
News
Richard Blair is concerned the trenches are falling into disrepair
newsGeorge Orwell's son wants to save war site that inspired book
Life and Style
Audrey Hepburn with Hubert De Givenchy, whose well-cut black tuxedo is a 'timeless look'
fashionIt may be a paradox, but the industry loves it
Arts and Entertainment
The pair in their heyday in 1967
music
Life and Style
fashionFrom bathing dresses in the twenties to modern bikinis
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

Abuse - and the hell that came afterwards

Abuse - and the hell that follows

James Rhodes on the extraordinary legal battle to publish his memoir
Why we need a 'tranquility map' of England, according to campaigners

It's oh so quiet!

The case for a 'tranquility map' of England
'Timeless fashion': It may be a paradox, but the industry loves it

'Timeless fashion'

It may be a paradox, but the industry loves it
If the West needs a bridge to the 'moderates' inside Isis, maybe we could have done with Osama bin Laden staying alive after all

Could have done with Osama bin Laden staying alive?

Robert Fisk on the Fountainheads of World Evil in 2011 - and 2015
New exhibition celebrates the evolution of swimwear

Evolution of swimwear

From bathing dresses in the twenties to modern bikinis
Sun, sex and an anthropological study: One British academic's summer of hell in Magaluf

Sun, sex and an anthropological study

One academic’s summer of hell in Magaluf
From Shakespeare to Rising Damp... to Vicious

Frances de la Tour's 50-year triumph

'Rising Damp' brought De la Tour such recognition that she could be forgiven if she'd never been able to move on. But at 70, she continues to flourish - and to beguile
'That Whitsun, I was late getting away...'

Ian McMillan on the Whitsun Weddings

This weekend is Whitsun, and while the festival may no longer resonate, Larkin's best-loved poem, lives on - along with the train journey at the heart of it
Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath in a new light

Songs from the bell jar

Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath
How one man's day in high heels showed him that Cannes must change its 'no flats' policy

One man's day in high heels

...showed him that Cannes must change its 'flats' policy
Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Dominic Rossi of Fidelity says his pressure on business to control rewards is working. But why aren’t other fund managers helping?
The King David Hotel gives precious work to Palestinians - unless peace talks are on

King David Hotel: Palestinians not included

The King David is special to Jerusalem. Nick Kochan checked in and discovered it has some special arrangements, too
More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years

End of the Aussie brain drain

More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years
Meditation is touted as a cure for mental instability but can it actually be bad for you?

Can meditation be bad for you?

Researching a mass murder, Dr Miguel Farias discovered that, far from bringing inner peace, meditation can leave devotees in pieces
Eurovision 2015: Australians will be cheering on their first-ever entrant this Saturday

Australia's first-ever Eurovision entrant

Australia, a nation of kitsch-worshippers, has always loved the Eurovision Song Contest. Maggie Alderson says it'll fit in fine