Albert Riera has been suspended by Liverpool Football Club following an outrageous interview with a Spanish radio station. In the interview, Riera claimed that Liverpool are "a sinking ship" after the Reds crashed out of the title race, the Champions League and the FA Cup in the early stages of the season.
Moreover, the Spanish winger, who has rarely featured this year due to his poor form, criticised the manager Rafael Benitez for his apparent poor man-management and defensive style. Riera said, "In the two years I have been here he (Benitez) has never managed a situation with a player by talking to him. He thinks he is the boss and everyone else is deaf. The dialogue with the players is pratically zero."
Of course Riera is hardly a reliable source, as he has lost his starting berth this season because of his ineffective performances on the left wing. These comments are a result of his obvious frustration with a lack of first team opportunities, however he clearly hasn't proved himself in training or on the pitch, with several diabolical performances this season, including away at Blackburn Rovers and at home to Unirea Urziceni.
Riera then went onto demean Rafa's style of play. When asked whether Rafa could manage Real Madrid, Riera replied, "In Madrid, they ask you to play beautifully, as well as win. We have never played beautiful football-effective, yes."
Early on during his time at Liverpool, Rafa installed a defensive style in order to stop the Reds from losing matches because, at the time, the players didn't have the quality to destroy teams with wonderful attacking play. Riera is right that Rafa's style has been effective, earning the Reds the Champions League 2005, Carling Cup runners up 05, FA Cup 06, Super Cup 06, Champions League runners up 07, and a second place finish last year.
However he is wrong when he claims that Liverpool have never played beautiful football under Benitez. For the second half of last season we were playing brilliant attacking football, destroying teams 3 and 4 nil on a regular basis. In fact, Liverpool managed an astounding 32 goals out of their last 10 League games, at an average of 3.2 goals per game, which led to Liverpool becoming top scorers with a total of 77 goals.
Riera hasn't played anywhere near his potential and, therefore doesn't have the right to criticise the manager, especially not in public. If he had any concerns he should have talked in private with the boss, but his public outburst has infuriated Benitez, causing the Reds manager to put Riera on the transfer list. If he can find a club willing to pay the £8 million asking price then Riera will be on the first plane out of Merseyside.
In stark contrast to his Spanish compatrioit Pepe Reina recently stated his desire to stay on Merseyside for as long as possible. In an interview with the official club website, Reina stated, "I think Liverpool is the right club for me... Liverpool is one of the best clubs in the world. Whatever happens, whether we are in the Champions League or the Europa League, it is still Liverpool no matter what. It will always be like this. I see no reason to leave."
This is the type of commitment supporters are desperate to see in their star players, especially considering the fact that Reina could move to any number of clubs, thanks to his spectacular displays this season, that have seen him become the player of the season in the view of many Reds fans.
Riera, if he does leave, will not be missed. The fans want to see commitment and passion from the players, and those are two attributes that he clearly does not possess. His performances won't be missed either as Benayoun, Babel and Maxi Rodriguez have all hit top form at some stage this season, providing ample cover on the left wing.