Steven Gerrard has been discussing one of Liverpool’s most infamous transfer sagas.
In 2008, Rafa Benitez poured a lot of effort into signing Englishman Gareth Barry, with the plan to offload Xabi Alonso and bring in the more versatile Aston Villa man in his place.
Barry was a decent player at the time and Alonso had endured an average season by his standards, but Liverpool fans couldn’t believe Benitez was actually going to do something so crazy.
Alonso was undeniably a world-class midfielder, while Barry, wasn’t and never had been.
“He wanted to move Xabi on and bring in Gareth,” Gerrard told BT Sport, cited in Goal. “Now, for me that wasn’t the right move, although I’m a big fan of Gareth Barry.
“I’d rather have him in to play alongside Xabi because I think they could have worked together.
“I don’t think it was the right move from a Liverpool point of view to replace Xabi with Gareth. The fans love Xabi, he’s a world-class player, and for me, Rafa should have been doing everything to keep him and not have him move on.”
Alonso stayed at Liverpool that summer and helped us fight for the title in 2008/09, only missing out to Manchester United’s best team of the Premier League era – one that included Cristiano Ronaldo, Wayne Rooney, Carlos Tevez, Paul Scholes, Rio Ferdinand, Nemanja Vidic et al.
As a result, he was snapped up by Real Madrid, after deciding he had to leave Liverpool following the way Benitez had treated him the previous summer…
Benitez would be sacked by Liverpool in 2010, while Alonso would go on to win nearly everything available to him at Real and eventually Bayern Munich.