Veteran defender Sami Hyypia has told Finnish media his disappointment at being excluded from Liverpool’s Champions League squad for the new season.
The big centre back, celebrating 10 years at the club this season, now finds himself behind Carragher, Agger and Skrtel and due to the quota of homegrown players having to be included in the European squad Hyypia isn’t in Rafa Benitez’s 25 man squad.
Hyypia said “The manager’s decision to leave me out of the squad is a big disappointment for me. I understand it’s partly because of the UEFA regulations, but despite that, the news came to me as a surprise and a shock too.”
Hyypia had been subject to bids from Stoke City and other clubs during the summer but those were rejected by Benitez, Hyypia said though “The club had a ‘perfect’ timing for this: they didn’t want me to move elsewhere, so that’s why I was told the news of having been left out, just after the transfer window had closed.”
“The club went public to say there had been offers for me, but turned them down. So perhaps that means I am still part of the plans for this season. I don’t know if I would have wanted to move on, had I heard news about the squad when the window was still open.”
As we explained earlier in the summer, 8 players in the 25 man squad must be “homegrown”, with 4 association trained and 4 domestic association trained. Liverpool’s registered players are Carragher, Gerrard, Keane, Pennant and youngsters Stephen Darby, Steven Irwin, Jay Spearing, Ryan Flynn and Martin Kelly.
The departures this summer of eligible players Peter Crouch, Scott Carson, Steve Finnan, Danny Guthrie and Harry Kewell means Benitez has been left to fill the squad with several inexperienced players with only 17 international places available.
Benitez had stated the quota ruling was another reason for the pursuit of Gareth Barry, but the arrival of Albert Riera – a Spaniard – instead hasn’t helped the situation. Neither would have the departure of Pennant, something which almost happened.
See also: Uefa quota gives Reds a problem