Benitez needs Aquilani
Liverpool boss Rafa Benitez admits that he will need Alberto Aquilani to be fit over Christmas.
Last Updated: 23/12/09 6:34pm
Liverpool manager Rafa Benitez admits that he will need Alberto Aquilani to be match-fit over the festive period.
The Italian midfielder, a £20million summer signing, has suffered a staggered start to his career at Anfield after undergoing rehabilitation from an ankle operation.
Since that time, Benitez's decision to use Aquilani in his first XI on only one occasion has been widely scrutinised as the former Roma man is optimistically viewed by some as a possible solution to woeful form.
Aquilani was absent for last weekend's defeat at Portsmouth through no decision of Benitez as a calf injury forced the 25-year-old to stay on Merseyside, but his manager is hopeful that he will have recovered to face Wolves at Anfield on Boxing Day.
"Alberto was working with the physios on Tuesday because he had a knock in his calf but he will train today with the team and hopefully will be available for the weekend," Benitez told Liverpool's official website.
"We have two games in three days and then the FA Cup so we will need Alberto. He is a player with quality which we need, especially as we are without Javier Mascherano."
Meanwhile, Benitez is hoping to have Albert Riera, Martin Kelly and Nabil El Zhar back from injury early in the New Year.
"Riera, Nabil and Kelly are still injured," he said. "They are improving but are not ready yet. Maybe in two weeks they will all be available. This year we have had too many injuries so having players coming back will be better for us."
Benitez has also commented on a potential new deal for Fabio Aurelio, whose current deal expires at the end of the season.
He said: "But we have a lot of players to decide on at the end of the season too -some young players. So now we will wait and see how it goes until then."
Benitez, though, was tight-lipped regarding potential targets in the January transfer window.
He added: "At this moment we are just looking at the next game and not talking about our transfer policy.
"We will wait to see if we can do something or not. I will not talk about players."