Barry saga is not my fault, blasts Reds chief Benitez

RAFAEL BENITEZ has blamed the Liverpool hierarchy for the protracted Gareth Barry transfer saga.

The Anfield boss, preparing for today’s Premier League opener at Sunderland, was yesterday very clear that he still wants the Aston Villa midfielder.

And he privately dismissed as unimportant the fact that Barry is now cup-tied for the first phase of the Champions League, having played for Villa in the UEFA Cup this week.

Benitez said: “I will try to be very clear over the (Barry) situation. Everyone has been talking and it seems that the blame is put on me.

“I get blamed for everything, for global warming to high petrol prices.

“But in this case I want to be very clear. Since I talked to Martin O’Neill about the situation in April, I have not talked to anyone at Aston Villa.

“All the talks have been between our chief executive Rick Parry, the owner and the chief executive of Aston Villa. And those talks have all been pretty good.

“So if anyone wants to talk about Barry in the future they must talk with the owner, Rick Parry or the chief executive of Aston Villa. And as I have said, those talks I understand have been good.

“I was not involved in the talks about Barry, I was not involved in the talks about (Xabi) Alonso and Arsenal. If you want to talk about these players you must talk to the chief executive of our club who was handling the discussions.

“If you want to talk about players, then you talk to Rick Parry. If you want to talk about football, then you talk with me.”

Privately Benitez believes that the question of Barry now being cup-tied from the Champions League group stages – he could play in the knockout phase in February – is of no consequence.

Benitez was willing to sanction a four-year contract, so for Barry to be unavailable for six group stage games this season is an inconvenience but not a problem in the long-term.

Whether Benitez eventually gets his man is still open to debate because co-owner Tom Hicks will not pay £18m (€22.8m). But it seems possible now that a lower fee will be offered to take into account the issue of the 27-year-old being initially cup-tied in Europe.

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