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Liverpool boss Benitez hints title would have been won with Barry onside

Liverpool boss Rafa Benitez admits regrets over failing to strike a deal for former Aston Villa midfielder Gareth Barry.

Barry is now with Manchester City and Benitez was asked if Liverpool would've won the league last season with Barry in his team.

"You never know," he told The Times. "Football is a funny game. The plan was for Barry to play on the left and feed the ball to Robbie Keane, who would play up front with Fernando Torres. This blueprint had to be scrapped. The collateral damage was Keane, who signed from Tottenham Hotspur before the Barry deal had been done.

"When we wanted to sign Barry, we were sure we were signing a good player with a very good mentality and the quality to play in the Premier League. The priority was Barry, then Keane."

Against a chaotic backdrop of politicking and finger-pointing at Anfield, Benítez's priorities were ignored. Keane was the collateral damage but there were wider disappointments for the manager.

"We were looking to the future because we knew we needed three or four English players in the squad [for the Champions League]," Benítez said. "We knew there were rule changes and we needed English players and we were trying to get there early.

"The only way to do that was to sell [foreign] players and bring money in to sign English players. But the main thing about Barry is that he can play in three positions. To sign Barry would have been a very good addition for the team."

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Tribal Football Staff

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