Rafa backs Aquilani to shine

27 September 2009 01:13
// A bit of a hack but it works// The article snippet is wrapped onto a second line, even when #article-sub is emptyif( $("div#article-sub").children().length == 0 ) {$("div#article-sub").remove();} Rafael Benitez believes Liverpool new boy Alberto Aquilani will prove to be a better playmaker than Xabi Alonso.

Aquilani has yet to make his Reds debut since his £20million summer switch from Roma but the Italian international has stepped up his rehabilitation from an ankle injury and should be available in October for the Merseysiders.

Reds boss Benitez has previously backed the Anfield new boy to fill the void of the departed Alonso - who returned to his homeland in a £30 million move to Real Madrid.

But the Spanish tactician has elaborated further, claiming the 25-year-old midfielder will carve out more chances for the likes of Steven Gerrard and Fernando Torres than Alonso did before his summer switch.

Benitez told The Daily Mirror: "Alberto is running again and when we travel to play Fiorentina in the Champions League this week he will stay behind to continue with his rehabilitation programme.

Talent"I know the fans are frustrated but we have signed a good player with talent and I never worried that we would have to wait for him to be fit.

"Xabi was a player who received the ball and played long and short passes. Aquilani wants to play higher up the pitch than that.

"He wants to be in the final third so that he can create chances.

"In that respect, playing passes to give the strikers the chance to score, he is better than Alonso.

"When he is fit the team will be more dangerous because he has the ability to find Torres and Gerrard with passes that will give them more chances to score.

"He is ahead of schedule for his comeback, but we must be careful with him."

Source: SKY_Sports