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Watch: Alonso Talks of Liverpool Departure

It was a love-affair that ended too soon for Liverpool fans and Xabi Alonso has been speaking again about how he was made to feel less "important" at the club, as Rafa Benitez planned for the future and alienated a fan-favourite.

Michael Steele

There can't be too many of us watching Xabi Alonso's imperious display against Manchester United last week who didn't feel an unpleasant emotional cocktail of envy and regret. As he pinged 40 yard passes to his flankers, screened in front of his centre-halves and even cleared one off the line, it was hard not to engage in the now-familiar habit of wondering what might have been.

Rafa Benitez is a man whose cachet and standing remains very high at LFC Offside Towers, but even here the decision he took to move Alonso on in the summer of 2008 is one that still rankles. The fact that Alonso responded to this affront with his finest season in red, a season where the Premiership was so nearly won, only added to the angst of fans, who displayed rare defiance of Benitez in their full-throated backing of the metronomic number 14 as the 08/09 season began.

The days of an Alonso, Gerrard and Mascherano midfield may be long gone, but the memory of them is not. That it was Rafa's pursuit of Gareth Barry which alienated Alonso only adds to the discomfort of those of us who saw the stylish Real Madrid man as the real heartbeat of the Liverpool team in that comparatively glorious era.

To hear him talk now, respectfully and regretfully, about how he felt he was not deemed "important" enough by the club, is a bitter experience. The fact that he does so whilst still the finest player of his type in world football and whilst sporting that magnificent face-rug, makes it almost impossible to bear.

However, we've been having too much fun around here over the last 48 hours and it is incumbent on us to remember that gloom and despondancy are our default emotions as LFC fans. So, to that end, watch the great man speaking to the BBC about how he still feels "really attached" to Liverpool Football Club.

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