Alonso to remain at Liverpool
RAFA Benitez has told Xabi Alonso his future is at Liverpool in an attempt to head off interest from Real Madrid. (Daily Star)The Liverpool midfielder was close to leaving last summer with Benitez ready to sacrifice the Spain midfielder to raise the funds to sign Gareth Barry.
RAFA Benitez has told Xabi Alonso his future is at Liverpool in an attempt to head off interest from Real Madrid. (Daily Star)
The Liverpool midfielder was close to leaving last summer with Benitez ready to sacrifice the Spain midfielder to raise the funds to sign Gareth Barry.
Juventus and Arsenal both registered their interest in Alonso, 27, but would not meet the �16m asking price.
He has responded by excelling this season and Benitez admitted he is now counting on him to be a key part of the club's development.
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Madrid have been linked with a summer move for a player they have regularly coveted, but Benitez hopes Alonso will want to stay on Merseyside five years after signing from Real Sociedad.
He said: “His first year was really good and this year he is also playing really well. You know that we had an offer from Juventus. They couldn't give us the price we wanted so that was it.
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“In the end, Xabi has been having a very good season. He has been playing well in a lot of games and is a key player for us.
“We have a lot of confidence in him and he is a player we want to keep because he has the quality, and the game, that we need.”
Benitez also insisted Fernando Torres has improved since last season when he grabbed 33 goals.
Torres, 25, has hit 14 this time round and the Kop chief added: “I think he is better than last year. He is learning and getting more experience. Also, he is keen to learn.”