Roy Hodgson has said he would find it difficult to defend Javier Mascherano's "selfish" actions in refusing to play for Liverpool as the player prepares to move to Barcelona.
Mascherano has long been keen to leave Anfield, and he refused to play in the 3-0 defeat to Manchester City on Monday.
The Reds have now accepted an offer from Barca and a deal is set to be completed over the weekend, but Hodgson has made clear that he is not happy about Mascherano's behaviour.
"It is not easy for me to defend the actions because professionals are paid to play and, when they are called on to play, they play," he said.
"We had a player at Blackburn, Graeme Le Saux, who was very agitated when I joined the club because he was determined to go to Chelsea and that caused a lot of problems in pre-season.
"Tim Sherwood was wanted by Tottenham and that caused a lot of problems because he wanted to get back to London. These situations do occur unfortunately and we have to live with it.
"I don't think they mean it as a challenge to your authority or a challenge to the club's authority. It is just a selfish situation that they have got something they want to do and they just expect the club, and therefore you as one of the leaders of the club, to bow down and accept that they are going to do it.
"Unfortunately there are going to be periods of time when there will be some unpleasantness because players must also understand that when you sign contracts you sign contracts to play.
"If the club decide they are going to accept an offer for you and let you go that is one thing, but you run the risk the club might say, 'I'm sorry, you've got the contract and we aren't selling you so you are staying'.
"It doesn't bother me as a challenge to my authority. It is just a fact of life, but it is a fact of life which gets exacerbated in a one-month period in January and between July and August when it is a time of year when a lot of people are trying to do their business."
Liverpool are at least set to retain Dirk Kuyt. The player's agent was quoted in England as saying Kuyt was eager to secure a move to Inter, but Kuyt has since said he is happy to see out his contract at Anfield.
Hodgson said: "We have to be forgiven for getting irritated by agents stirring things up even more. It is bad enough if there is a genuine offer and a genuine problem to solve but it is even worse when you are constantly batting away things you shouldn't even be talking about.
"When the window closes then every press conference is about football and football matters rather than 'X's agent is saying this and is there any truth in it?' and you are trying to diplomatically answer the question without offending too many people."