Craig Bellamy looked set to start for Liverpool against Manchester City until his world was rocked by Gary Speed's apparent suicide Sunday morning. LiverpoolFC.tv reports Reds' manager Kenny Dalglish decided that the grieving Bellamy would sit out Sunday's game.
"Gary was like a mentor to Bellars, Dalglish said. "Bellars was a bit upset and I took the decision to say, 'Look, there are more important things than playing a football match.'"
The news of Speed's death shocked British soccer on Sunday. The 42-year-old was widely admired for his professionalism as a player and his coaching acumen. He was the manager of Wales' national team and convinced Bellamy to resume his international career earlier this year.
"I know Gary Speed. He was a fantastic footballer but more important than that, he was a decent fella," Dalglish added.
"There are a lot of people saddened by what has happened but the most important people at this moment in time are his wife and two boys. It's them your heart goes out to and they'll need as much support as they can possibly get, and I'm sure they'll get that because he had an awful lot of good friends. He was a good guy and it's disappointing for everybody."
Bellamy had been looking to cement a place in the Liverpool starting lineup with another good performance against his former employers. The veteran attacker has made nine appearances for the Reds in his second stint at the club. He started just two league games — including last week's win at Chelsea, but registered a goal and assist in both.
Liverpool's next game is Tuesday's Carling Cup quarterfinal clash at Chelsea and Bellamy's availability is unknown at this time.
Review all the action from Sunday's game in our Liverpool Live Blog.
Photo via Flickr/demonised