Benitez discusses his relationship with the Real Madrid star in, 'Champions League Dreams', which is being serialised in the Mirror:
"My plan was to play Plessis, a strong, athletic midfielder, alongside my countryman. We could not risk Gerrard.
"I outlined it to the players in our hotel, but after I had finished speaking, Xabi asked if he might have a quiet word with me.
"The transfer window was still open and, after a summer of uncertainty, he was still unsure over his future.
"The details of that conversation must remain private, but I was certain that, in a game of such importance, there was no option but to play the best team available to us and Xabi, of course, would be part of that.
"As soon as we had finished talking, I sought out Rick Parry, our chief executive, and Sammy Lee, now appointed my assistant.
"I told them what had been said, but made it clear that Xabi would be playing the following night.
"The club had to come first."