Comolli denies Meireles claims

Director of football says midfielder asked to leave

Meireles: Says Liverpool broke a promise but Comolli insists midfielder wanted to leave

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Director of football Damien Comolli has countered accusations from Raul Meireles that Liverpool asked him to hand in a transfer request.

Meireles joined Premier League rivals Chelsea in the final minutes of the transfer deadline day last month in a reported £12million move, a switch that angered many Reds supporters.

The 28-year-old Portugal international last week insisted he never wanted to leave Liverpool but admitted he jumped at the chance to go to Stamford Bridge when it became clear he would be sold.

Speaking at a press conference on Monday, Meireles then accused Liverpool of a broken promise and claimed he was forced to submit a transfer request once they had decided to sell him to Chelsea.

Putting across Liverpool's side, Comolli said on the club's official website in response to questions sent in by supporters: "I think Raul said it himself with what I've seen recently in the press.

"Basically, he came to see me and said 'I want to leave, I want to play for another club'.

"Our intention was not to sell him but we were put in a corner a little bit when he put in a transfer request and said he wanted to go and that he didn't want to play for Liverpool anymore.

"I think the owners and Kenny (Dalglish) have said it, and we all have the same view. When someone doesn't want to be here it's difficult to say 'you are going to stay'.

"We've been through that process in January with Fernando Torres and this felt like the same situation. We've done it, we think it was the right thing to do for the club, because it's very, very difficult to have somebody here who doesn't want to be here.

"The job of the manager in the Premier League is already difficult having to manage 25 players and only having 11 to start on a match day, so you have to deal with all the others.

"On top of that if you have someone who is adamant they don't want to be here and wants to play for someone else, we took the view it's better if he goes and we get the best possible deal for the club. In the end I think we did well."

Aquilani and Cole

Meireles was not the only player to leave Anfield this summer, with Alberto Aquilani returning to Italy after agreeing a loan move with AC Milan for the rest of the campaign, while Joe Cole moved on a season-long loan to Lille.

Asked why Aquilani was allowed to go after impressing in pre-season, Comolli said: "With him it was more a question of opportunities to play. He's obviously a big player, he's got a very good resume and he's a very good player. But Kenny and the coaching staff felt he would play in a certain position.

"As I told Alberto during the summer, unfortunately in that position is someone called Steven Gerrard and it would have been difficult for Alberto to play."

Comolli also dismissed reports that Liverpool now have first refusal on highly-rated Lille star Eden Hazard as part of the Cole deal.

"No, it's not true. I've seen those reports, but it's not true. He's a very good player, as everybody knows, but there's no truth in it," said Comolli.