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Javier Mascherano has revealed to The Times he left Liverpool "with a bad feeling" and has denied refusing to play for the club against Manchester City before moving to Barcelona three-and-a-half years ago.
The Argentina international was left out of the then Anfield manager Roy Hodgson's plans for the 3-0 defeat to City in August 2010, with Hodgson suggesting that the defensive midfielder's 'mind was not right' after interest from the Catalan giants.
However, Mascherano insists he refused to line up for Liverpool, and states he kept his silence at the time due to his admiration for the Premier League side, while suggesting that the club's hierarchy failed to keep their word leading to a relationship breakdown.
“I didn’t want to say anything at the time because of my respect for Liverpool,” Mascherano said. “I did not want to say anything about a club that had been so good for me, so I kept my mouth shut.
“Maybe that was a mistake, because it allowed other people to say bad things about me. But I do not regret it. Liverpool is a special club and it does not deserve to be treated badly.
"The people who were there at the time -- the manager [Hodgson] and Christian Purslow [the former managing director] -- have gone now but they know the truth. When I went back to Liverpool for preseason I had a lot of meetings with them and they were promising a lot of things to me but never kept their word.
“I did not wake up one day and refuse to play. In the game before City we played against Arsenal and I gave everything because I was wearing the Liverpool shirt. Why would I do that and risk getting injured when I knew that Barcelona were close to signing me and then refuse to play in another game? That doesn’t make any sense."
Mascherano explained that the Anfield side began to make a potential move to Barcelona more difficult, which led to him leaving the club under a cloud -- an outcome he is still disappointed about.
“We had been talking about completing the transfer for 20 days because the club also wanted to make it happen, but then they started to make things difficult for me. It was very sad for me to leave Liverpool in the way that I did because being with them was one of the best moments in my life.
“The people treated me really well and I would never want to let them down. I wanted to leave in another way, but they didn’t give me the chance to. That is the truth. It left me with a bad feeling. My time at the club was over and I needed to move on, but I also needed to leave the club in a good way and that wasn’t allowed to happen.”
The 29-year-old has gone on to play 98 times with Barcelona, becoming a solid part of the Blaugranas' back line and winning two La Liga titles as well as the Champions league in 2011.