Javier Mascherano slams 'sad' Liverpool over player sales

Barcelona midfielder Javier Mascherano has criticised former club Liverpool for the way they handled his departure last summer and striker Fernando Torres' exit on Monday.

The Argentina international described as "sad" the manner in which players had to leave a club they had served well.

Following Torres' £50million transfer to Chelsea on deadline day the Spaniard has been castigated for his comments suggesting he is much better off at Stamford Bridge than he was at Anfield.

"I was not surprised about what happened with Fernando," Mascherano is quoted on espn.co.uk as telling a press conference today.

"When I left Liverpool, it looked as if I killed someone. It is sad that the people who did something important with the club have to leave by the back door.

"It is sad that the press and the club try to convince people that it is all the player's fault when the reality is that Liverpool didn't show the interest in keeping us in the club.

"The most important players didn't leave the club well.

"I spoke with Fernando and I said to him that he doesn't have to be worried because he did his best for the club.

"Even though he didn't win any trophies, he was a very important player and helped this club all the time."

Mascherano's views are, however, slightly ironic considering he was offered a new contract by then Liverpool manager Rafael Benitez last April but stalled on signing it.

Four months later, after it became apparent he did not want to remain on Merseyside, he eventually secured a £22m move to Barcelona.

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