'It made me cry' — Ex-Liverpool man reflects on 'fatal' turn in his career under Rafa Benitez

Anthony Le Tallec has opened up on the biggest regret of his career while he was at Anfield.

Former Liverpool striker Anthony Le Tallec has revealed that one of the biggest regrets in his career was asking to leave Merseyside in 2004. He has also hit out at Rafael Benítez, who he 'blames' for a 'fatal' blow to his career trajectory.

The Frenchman, who retired in 2021, was signed by Gérard Houllier in 2001, alongside his cousin Florent Sinama Pongolle. Despite being on Liverpool's books for seven years, Le Tallec was limited with his time on the pitch and was sent out on loan on numerous occasions.

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Speaking to L'Equipe, Le Tallec has given an honest and emotional recap of his time with the Reds and reflected on the moment he regrets asking new manager Benítez to leave on a short-term stint.

"For having asked Rafael Benítez to leave on loan [in July 2004]. I was stupid and he was mad at me," he admitted. "I came back from Saint-Étienne in January because there were injuries at Liverpool and, at the end of the season, Benítez said to me: 'For me, you are crazy. You were one of the three attackers, now I put you in eighth place'.

"I was young, but he didn’t want to know anything and lent me every year. I blame him. My career could have been different, but that one thing was fatal for me."

Le Tallec was also left out of the historic Liverpool squad that faced AC Milan in the 2005 Champions League final. The Reds of course went on to secure one of the most iconic comebacks in football history but it was not a moment Le Tallec could enjoy.

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"Benítez didn’t include me in the squad for the Champions League final — it made me cry," he said. "Harry Kewell came back from injury but was injured again after 20 minutes. I was in the stands during the final, but I didn’t celebrate the title in Istanbul or take part in the parade through Liverpool. I stayed at home, I was too sad."

Following the arrival of Peter Crouch from Southampton that same summer, Le Tallec slipped further down the pecking order. After loan spells at Sunderland, Sochaux and Le Mans, the latter side eventually made his move permanent in 2008, ending his tenure without really showing his full potential in a red shirt.

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