Liverpool were unable to fly Javier Mascherano and Emiliano Insua back from Argentina in time to face Sunderland last Saturday because, unlike Barcelona and Manchester City, the club were unwilling to pay for a private plane.
Instead, following Argentina's 1-0 victory over Uruguay that secured their place in the World Cup finals, both players took scheduled flights from South America via Paris. They arrived at the Liverpool team hotel before the game but their manager, Rafael Benitez, judged they were not ready to play at the Stadium of Light.
"It was nearly impossible for them to play and I took the decision they should not," he said. "Normally, you arrange the flights and try to get them back as quickly as possible. We sent them straight to Sunderland from Paris as soon as we could. Normally, you try to arrange the flights and the federation pays."
Barcelona hired a private airliner at the cost of £90,000 to bring Lionel Messi back in time to face Valencia. Carlos Tevez was also flown by private plane to Manchester after the game in Montevideo and the club offered to share costs with Liverpool, a deal that was declined. Tevez started the game at Wigan – a day later than Liverpool's match – but, like Messi, his performance scarcely justified the price.