Former Liverpool striker Anthony Le Tallec has revealed how he angered ex-Reds manager Rafael Benitez when asking to go out on loan in 2004.
In an interview with the print edition of France Football [via Sport Witness], the 35-year-old spoke of how he had requested to leave Anfield on loan to get more regular game-time, a stance which was met with disapproval from Benitez.
Le Tallec told France Football [via Sport Witness]: “I took the decision to ask Rafa Benitez to go out on loan at Saint-Etienne. He didn’t understand since he was playing me in preseason. He said I was crazy, got annoyed and said: ‘If you want to leave, then leave’. He made me pay for it later.”
Le Tallec was signed by Liverpool in 2001 along with his cousin Florent Sinama-Pongolle, with both players loaned to Le Havre for two years before coming to Anfield in 2003. [via Bleacher Report]
Le Tallec played just 23 games in all competitions for the Reds in 2003/04 and managed only one goal, as per TransferMarkt. He got his wish of being loaned to Saint-Etienne for part of the following season and played just nine more times for Liverpool.
However, he started in the Reds’ quarter-final home leg win over Juventus in their 2005 Champions League triumph, a success he described as his “most beautiful memory” in football. [France Football, via Sport Witness]
While Le Tallec’s desire to play more regularly at Liverpool was understandable, his Anfield prospects never truly recovered from his loan request to Benitez.
His less than stellar Reds career should serve as a warning to the club’s current young crop who might be tempted to knock on Jurgen Klopp’s door and plead for a move away.
With Liverpool set to play 14 games in six weeks and the manager already handing first team minutes to a clutch of teenagers this season, the young breed are likely to be given opportunities.
As the graduation of Trent Alexander-Arnold from Academy hopeful to Ballon d’Or nominee has shown, youngsters can thrive at Liverpool if they’re prepared to wait for their chance and then make the most of it.
Liverpool fans, what did you make of Le Tallec’s words about his time at the club? Is there a lesson in his story for the Reds’ current youngsters? Have your say by commenting below!
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