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“I was stupid” – Request to leave Liverpool seen as ‘fatal’ to career, and a huge regret

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Former Liverpool striker Anthony Le Tallec has told L’Equipe that he regrets asking to leave the Reds in 2004.

The Merseyside club took the Frenchman from Le Havre in 2001 and he spent seven years at Anfield, before leaving them permanently for Le Mans.

During his time at Liverpool, he was restricted to only 32 appearances, managing a goal and two assists in the process.

The 39-year-old, who was part of the Reds squad that won the Champions League during the 2004/05 season, spent the majority of his time there out on loan. He retired in 2021 and has had a chat with L’Equipe to share a few insights of his playing career.

When asked about the biggest regret of his career, he revealed it was wanting to leave the Premier League side in 2004. It was the same summer when Rafael Benítez took charge at Anfield.

“For having asked Rafael Benítez to leave on loan [in July 2004]. I was stupid and he was mad at me,” he said.

“I came back from Saint-Étienne in January because there were injuries at Liverpool and, at the end of the season, Benítez said to me: ‘’For me, you are a crazy. You were one of the three attackers, now I put you in 8th place’.

“I was young, but he didn’t want to know anything and lent me every year. I blame him. My career could have been different, but that one thing was fatal for me.”

Liverpool defeated AC Milan in the Champions League final in 2005 and Benítez had left the Frenchman out of the squad for the final. Le Tallec is still hurt and talked about this when asked which defeat touched him the most.

“More like not being called up. In 2005, Benítez didn’t include me in the squad for the Champions League final. It made me cry,” Le Tallec explained.

“Harry Kewell came back from injury but was injured again after 20 minutes. I was in the stands during the final, but I didn’t celebrate the title in Istanbul or take part in the parade through Liverpool. I stayed at home, I was too sad.”

 

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