Liverpool fans blamed me for Alonso sale, says Everton star

Gareth Barry opens his heart on his failed move to Anfield

Everton midfielder Gareth Barry believes the Liverpool supporters blamed him for Anfield hero Xabi Alonso’s departure for Real Madrid.

Barry has opened his heart on his failed move to Liverpool five years ago, when he came ‘very, very close’ to a transfer from Aston Villa.

Then Liverpool manager Rafael Benitez wanted to make Barry a key part of his team, while at the same time shipping out Spain midfielder Alonso to Real Madrid.

The move fell through as Liverpool failed to match Aston Villa’s asking price, and Barry has since gone on to win the Premier League title with Manchester City, before being loaned out to Everton this season.

He believes his proposed move to Liverpool may have been doomed from the outset, with the Reds fans unlikely to welcome a replacement for their idol Alonso, who eventually departed in 2009 to be replaced by Alberto Aquilani.

“The big thing with the Liverpool fans was that it looked like one of their favourites was leaving, in Alonso, and they looked at me as the reason for it,” said Barry in an interview with the Guardian.

“That's fans, I suppose. Whether he'd decided to leave or had had that conversation with Benítez I'm not sure, but the fans heard he was leaving, I was coming in and put two and two together.”

Barry will be part of the side to face Liverpool at GoodisonPark today, and he says there is no fear in playing their neighbours from across the city.

“The way both teams have started, this game is massive for both,” he said. “It’s important we really focus on trying to win the game as three points, with the way the league is now, puts you right up there and the longer you stay in those positions the more confident you are going to be.

“Talking to the lads who have been here for a while, they don’t go into the games feeling inferior to Liverpool. They have had a lot of joy with finishing above Liverpool in recent years. If you look at the league tables and what they’ve achieved in recent years, you’d set them alongside each other.”

image: © Vincent Teeuwen

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