Midfielder Jermaine Pennant has revealed he felt confused by Rafa Benitez’s decision to leave him out of the squad this season, following his loan move to Portsmouth til the end of the season.
Pennant looks to have played his last match for Liverpool after losing his place in Benitez’s team, falling behind Kuyt, Benayoun, Babel and El Zhar.
This week he signed a loan deal with Tony Adams’ side, in order to keep his options open when his Liverpool contract expires in the summer. He had previously turned down a move to Blackburn or Stoke last summer, despite Benitez telling him he did not feature in his plans at Anfield.
‘œBut that is Rafa for you and I don’t think half the players at Liverpool can work him out. I have been speaking to a lot of the other Liverpool players and they could not understand why I was not being selected, especially in the games at home where they have struggled to win.”
Pennant’s rant in full:
‘I am looking forward to Tony Adams speaking English. I don’t know if it is the English mentality he dislikes but there are not a lot of English players at Liverpool. I have mentioned that before when I was at Arsenal so I guess I have not had much luck with foreign managers.
‘Last season I played 34 games and in a Champions’ League final the previous year for Rafa but now he has had a change of plans. It is not for me to question the manager because he has done so well for Liverpool but it seems very strange to go from playing every week to training on my own on Saturday afternoons.
‘But that is Rafa for you and I don’t think half the players at Liverpool can work him out. I have been speaking to a lot of the other Liverpool players and they could not understand why I was not being selected, especially in the games at home where they have struggled to win.
‘It was the same with Peter Crouch and he had to get away too. I spoke to Crouchy a lot before I came here and he told me to join Portsmouth. He said it was a good club and that Tony would give me more chances to play.’
‘It is weird that I cannot get into Liverpool’s team but Real Madrid want me. It is very flattering to be linked with a club of their size because they are one of the best teams in the world. I did not speak to Madrid directly but my agent may have done. I did not speak to Milan either but again my agent may have.
‘I am here for six months because I want to play regular football and we will have to see what happens after that. It would be a great experience to play abroad and I am not ruling it out.’
Maybe this can explain why Benitez froze you out at Anfield, Jermaine?