Dudek's frustration with life as third-choice to continue

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The Independent Online

Liverpool signed a fifth goalkeeper this week and yet Rafael Benitez has told Jerzy Dudek that a responsibility to the club's interests means he cannot release the Polish international this month.

Dudek revealed his anger at being relegated to third-choice in a vehement attack of Benitez's methods on Thursday, although last night the 33-year-old claimed he never accused his manager of talking rubbish or vowed not to play for him again, having been given a £3m price tag.

The Champions' League winner fears his World Cup prospects will be damaged if he does not leave Anfield soon, but despite having Jose Reina and Scott Carson in his senior squad, Chris Kirkland on loan at West Bromwich Albion and David Martin arriving from MK Dons yesterday, Benitez insisted he will not sell.

"I know how important it is for a player to play every week, particularly with the World Cup coming up, but I have a responsibility for this club," he said. "It's very important for us to have a strong squad. Things change every day - we might receive a good offer for [Peter] Crouch one day which we need to assess - but at the moment we want to keep them all."

Benitez's hardline stance leaves the goalkeeper and any prospective employers in no doubt of Liverpool's determination to recoup much of the £4.85m they paid to Feyenoord in 2001. Dudek has been linked with loan moves, including to Benfica and Sporting Lisbon, but no long-term deal.

Benitez added: "I told Jerzy and his agent that we are happy with our goalkeepers, with Jerzy and with the squad. We need good players just in case we have problems. We'll analyse every player's situation. People talk about [Florent] Sinama-Pongolle also - it depends on each player at the moment, but we can't generalise. We're only at the beginning of January now, but our idea is that we'd like to keep our players."

Last night Dudek backtracked on Thursday's comments. "You do not insult someone you respect," he said. "Like any other footballer I want to play regularly. I have become frustrated at my current situation, but I am a professional and will continue to work as hard as I can in training and do my best for Liverpool."

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