Rafa’s Barry distraction, Alonso and an ”loyalty” issue and bye bye Penn

Rafa just won’t let it go will he? Gareth Barry, despite having made his choice and gone to Manchester City still, seems to occupy a place in his mind to extent that he still feels the need to comment on his decision to pick Eastlands over Anfield.

“Maybe it’s just me but in this market, the top level, I don’t think money is the most important thing. At this level everyone earns big money. The question is do you make the right decisions and do what is best for your career? If it’s just for money sometimes you will make mistakes and I’ve been surprised by some decisions this summer – like Barry. I won’t say too much but it was clearly 100% for money. The most important thing for me, though, is the passion of the players.”

It’s not as if it’s the break up of a long term relationship but perhaps Rafa feels put out due to all the time and effort he put in trying to persuade Barry to join us. I suspect he is right about Barry going for the money but since when were mercenary judgements outlawed in football? At the end of the day it is Barry’s decision and time will tell if he’s been proved right so it should left at that? If Barry doesn’t want to play for Liverpool, he’s not worth bothering with?

Perhaps more vexing are Rafa’s comments concerning Mascherano and Alonso. Whilst one can appreciate his desire to keep both players at Anfield, surely he isn’t helping himself with comments like this?

“Don’t forget we signed Alonso from Real Sociedad when nobody knew about him and we renewed his contract two years ago, so he was happy then, and you know what happened with Mascherano at West Ham before we brought him here. Both players owe a lot to Liverpool. They owe Liverpool some loyalty and they both know that.”

Sadly the loyalty shown by football fans is not matched the players they watch. However, the case of Alonso it goes beyond that. It could be argued that he owes Liverpool, and particularly Rafa, no loyalty whatsoever bearing in mind the transparent attempts to offload him to Juventus last summer? Many will say a contract should be honoured but again Rafa was prepared to not to honour Alonso’s last summer, when it was only one year old?

Let’s assume Rafa was having an off day, maybe he’d been briefed by Tom Hicks! However, at a time when Real have reinforced their interest in Alonso the last thing we need is Rafa talking in a way that could help turn the player’s head towards Spain.

Meanwhile the moment, which we all knew would happen, has come. Farewell to Jermaine Pennant, who joins Real Zaragoza on a three year deal. It’s not often that you see an English player move abroad these days but in Pennant’s case perhaps it will be good thing for him? Talk of talent and promise and been just that. It hasn’t, in all honesty, really transferred itself to the pitch aside from a few moments like a cracking goal against Chelsea. Pennant seemed to get into excellent positions to cross but the end product, a goal, was sadly lacking. Defenders of Pennant will say it was down to the poor finishing by the recipients but all too often the quality, though not necessarily the quantity, of the supply was lacking. I admire Pennant for not taking the easy option and resisting Rafa’s attempts to sell or loan him in favour of trying to fight his way back into the team. However, perhaps a move, away from these shores is a good thing for him professionally and personally given a few well publicised off the field problems. I genuinely wish him luck.

Finally, Stevie Gerrard has signed a new contract. Let the bells ring out!

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