Fernando Morientes has left Liverpool and returned to Spain to join Valencia in a deal worth about £3m.

The 30-year-old former Real Madrid striker has only been at Anfield for 16 months, but scored just 12 goals in 61 games.

To compound a disappointing season, he was left out of the Spanish squad for this summer’s World Cup.

Morientes moved to Liverpool from Real Madrid for £6.3m in 2005 after impressing during a one-year loan spell at Monaco.

“Everybody at Liverpool would like to wish ‘Nando’ all the best with his new club in Spain,” said a statement on the Liverpool website.

Morientes, who had two years to run on his contract on Merseyside, conceded that he had “never felt right” at Liverpool. “I cannot stay if I don’t play,” he said last week on learning that Benítez hoped to bring in new players up front.

Morientes began his career with Albacete in 1993 and joined Real Zaragoza two years later where he went on to score 28 league goals in two seasons.

In 1997 Real Zaragoza sold him for £4.5m to Real Madrid.

The striker won three European Cups and two league titles with Real but following the implementation of the club’s Galactico policy, he saw his first team chances limited and moved on loan to Monaco, helping the French club reach the Champions League final in 2004.

He returned to Real Madrid at the start of the 2004-2005 season, but the arrival of Michael Owen again saw his chances restricted and in January 2005 he joined Liverpool.