Date: 2nd September 2006 at 5:37pm
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Had Liverpool boss Rafael Benitez sanctioned a move for Stephen Warnock to go in the opposite direction in exchange for Lucas Neill it is likely a deal would’ve gone through on Thursday.

Benitez told the official Liverpool website:

It was disappointing. We tried but in the end the situation was impossible. Blackburn wanted to sign Warnock, but we made it clear we wanted to keep the player.”

24-year-old Warnock, who was called into former England Coach Sven Goran Eriksson`s England Squads last season, is a player Mark Hughes had hoped to get in exchange for Neill. It wouldn’t have just been a straight player swap; it is thought Hughes also wanted money as well.

Benitez would admit “the conversations I had with Blackburn were friendly and they are good people.” But as they looked to secure the Australian Internationals services at Anfield he would have to eventually think “okay, we cannot do it.”

It is likely that Benitez will again move for Neill in the January transfer window. Whether or not he signs a pre-agreement with Liverpool to arrive for free next summer, or if Liverpool will pay a fee, which would surely be significantly less than the rumoured £2 million rejected by Rovers remains to be seen.


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