Craig Bellamy
Rodgers would have liked to have worked with Bellamy.

Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers has revealed his regret over not getting the opportunity to work with Craig Bellamy at Anfield.

The 34-year-old forward will captain Cardiff City when they welcome the Reds to Wales on Saturday afternoon as his former club look to continue their pursuit of Premier League leaders Chelsea.

Bellamy, who enjoyed two spells with the club between 2007 and 2007 and again from 2011 to 2012, left Anfield to join the Bluebirds shortly following Rodgers' appointment on Merseyside.

The former Swansea City manager has since set about instilling his own long-term vision at the club but admits parting with Bellamy was an incredibly tough decision, although he understood the former Welsh international's reasons for returning to his hometown club.

"It's one of my only regrets, really, that I never got the chance to work with Craig," Rodgers told Liverpool's official website.

"I've followed him in his career right the way through; an outstanding player, very honest, speaks his mind, but is an ultimate professional.

"He always prepares himself well. He's given his life to being a footballer. He's a big Liverpool supporter and did very, very well here.

"When I came in, he had a year left on his contract but for other reasons he needed to move back home - and that was a regret because I've always seen him from the outside as someone who was very passionate about football, but who had great qualities."

"Technically he's very good, tactically you could see he worked on his game and understood the game with more experience, physically he was super fast, strong and looked after his body, and obviously to be the big player he's been for the big clubs he's played for you have to be mentally very strong.

"So for me to lose a player of that quality when I did was obviously very disappointing, but I respected his opinion at the time. He went back to his home in Cardiff and has been a real iconic figure for Cardiff."

Should Arsenal beat Chelsea in Saturday's early kick off, Liverpool could move to within a point of the Blues at the top of the Premier League with a win at the Cardiff City Stadium.

However, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's side are in desperate need of three points themselves as relegation worries grow. The Welsh club sit 19<sup>th in the league having played a game more than relegation rivals West Brom and Crystal Palace and three more than Sunderland.