Rafa choose Warnock over Neill

The failure to agree a deal to bring defender Lucas Neill to Anfield from Blackburn was largely due to manager Rafa Benitez’s desire to keep left back Stephen Warnock at the club.

The 24 year old full back has done well under Benitez’s reign and was wanted by Rovers in a deal to see Australian Neill complete his move to Anfield. Speaking on Friday after the transfer window closed Benitez said “Blackburn wanted to sign Warnock, but we made it clear we wanted to keep the player. They asked to sign Warnock and receive a fee, so we had to say forget it.

“Warnock is a good 24-year-old player who was in the England squad last year. The conversations I had with Blackburn were friendly and they are good people, but in the end we had to say ‘okay, we cannot do it’.”

Benitez also confessed he would’ve wanted Neill following Jan Kromkamp’s departure to PSV Eindhoven and that it does now leave him short of cover for right back Steve Finnan. “We can manage with Carra and Paletta if we have a problem at right-back, but the situation is going to be more difficult for four months.”

However, a January deal may still materialise for Neill, “Maybe we can do more business with a right-back in January. I know Lucas Neill really wanted to come here, and maybe there will be a possibility in the future, but we must also analyse the market in January.”

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