Liverpool boss Benitez: I never wanted to sell Crouch

Liverpool boss Rafa Benitez insists he never wanted to sell Peter Crouch to Portsmouth.

"When I first came up against him as a manager he was a player with Southampton and I was thinking about how to stop him," said the gaffer.

"Now we have some ideas but I will not say before the game."

Crouch is bound to receive a warm reception from the Kop on Wednesday having left with an impressive record of 42 goals in 135 games - including a 'perfect' hat-trick against Arsenal and a couple of unforgettable scissor kicks versus Galatasaray and Bolton.

"It was a pity to lose him," said Benitez. "We offered him a new contract, but at the end of the day he decided to go to another club where he can play every week.

"That is something that you can understand because at a top side like Liverpool it can be difficult for this to happen, especially when you have a player like Torres who is on fire.

"It was difficult for Peter to play here every week, but he is a nice lad, a good professional and we wish him the best in the future."

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