Liverpool striker Craig Bellamy has told BBC Wales that he wants to leave the club at the end of the season.
Welsh international Bellamy was signed at a cut-price from Blackburn last summer after Liverpool took advantage of a release clause in his contract, and rumours have been strong that he is on his way back there when the season is over.
The BBC’s Malcolm Allen was covering the Liverpool game away to Portsmouth this afternoon and said he spoke to Bellamy before the game. Allen said Bellamy told him he was unhappy at the club and wanted to leave Liverpool at the end of the season, to play for a club where he could appear week-in week-out.
Allen said: “I spoke to him before the game here on the pitch and he told me it has been a very disappointing year for him, that he hasn’t got a working relationship with Rafa Benítez, that they hardly speak to each other at the moment and that the situation has become clear that for the sake of his own career he wants to play consistently, he wants to play in the first team week in week out and he hasn’t been getting those opportunities at Liverpool.”
Allen was asked if anything in particular had caused this situation, he replied: “No, because many times this season the manager’s just told him to be ready to run. He doesn’t want to him link play up and come short for the ball and Craig’s got a lot more to his game than just running behind defenders. We know that’s a strength of his and he can always be a threat but he likes to come short for the ball and bring other players into the game and suck defenders onto him and then create the space behind to use his pace and he hasn’t been able to do that at Liverpool. It’s going to be a sad day for Craig because he’s always been a Liverpool supporters but for the furthering of his own career I do feel he’s got to move on, and that’s the way he’s feeling as well.
The incident in Portugal prior to the Barcelona Champions League game pretty much sealed his fate but this is the first time anything like official confirmation has been forthcoming. Bellamy has been substituted early in recent games he’s started and was probably further disappointed today to find himself in the team, with Rafa planning to rest most of those players he wants to use on Tuesday against Chelsea. This outburst, if he agreed for it to be broadcast, will not help his reputation for being a moaner.
Robbie Fowler is predicted to also leave this summer, having been rarely used by Rafael Benítez this season. Striker Andriy Voronin will join the Reds on a free transfer from Bayer Leverkusen in the summer on a four-year deal. Peter Crouch is expected to stay at the club, along with Dirk Kuyt. If Bellamy and Fowler do leave, Rafa will be looking to sign at least one more striker this summer.