Alvaro Arbeloa has been reflecting on his time at Liverpool ahead of his return to Anfield on Wednesday as a Real Madrid player.
The former Spain international defender was on the books of the Premier League club from January 2007 until the end of the 2008-09 season.
The 31-year-old subsequently joined Madrid where he has been hugely successful, winning La Liga and the Champions League once each.
It was Arbeloa’s performance for Liverpool in the 2008-09 campaign that convinced Madrid to re-sign him. The 2010 World Cup winner was a key player in Rafael Benitez’s team that came close to winning the Premier League.
Liverpool ended the league campaign with 86 points from 38 matches, while eventual champions Manchester United finished four points ahead of them.
Arbeloa believes that the Merseyside outfit would have won the league title that season had Federico Macheda not been scoring crucial goals for United.
‘People forget that we almost won the league [in 2008-09]’, the 31-year-old full-back told The Guardian. ‘We didn’t win it because of sodding [Federico] Macheda.
‘There were weeks where we kicked off before United and we’d board our flight home with them losing, only to get off the plane and find they’d come back. Again. At times we could touch the trophy but they always came back’.
Macheda made a huge impact for United in the 2008-09 season, scoring two goals and providing one assist in four Premier League appearances.
However, Macheda failed to build on those displays in the subsequent years and, after loan spells at a number of clubs including Queens Park Rangers and Birmingham City, he joined Cardiff City in the summer transfer window.