Rafa open-minded about Alonso

Image: Alonso: Still rated by Rafa

Liverpool boss Rafa Benitez says it will take a 'massive offer' to persuade him to sell Xabi Alonso.

Reds manager would want big offer to let midfielder go

Liverpool boss Rafa Benitez says it will take a 'massive offer' to persuade him to sell Xabi Alonso. Spanish midfielder Alonso had been tipped to leave Anfield to enable Benitez to raise the funds to sign Gareth Barry from Aston Villa. Benitez says money is no longer an issue in his pursuit of Barry and feels Alonso understands his reasons behind him originally being prepared to sell the former Real Sociedad man. "I explained to him why I needed money for signing other players," said Benitez.

Great player

"He can understand if you have (Javier) Mascherano, Lucas, Steven Gerrard and then Plessis, you have four other midfielders and maybe you can sell one player. "When I was first talking with Xabi (about a transfer) we needed money. After these months it is not a question of money. We would have to have a massive offer because Alonso is a great player. "But if we sell one or two players we have enough money to bring in one more good player. "Don't forget we will need eight British players - and the left-footer we were talking about can play in three positions too."
Protected
Alonso was only a half-time substitute in Saturday's 1-0 win at Sunderland, but Benitez explained why the midfielder started on the bench. He added: "Xabi has had a dead leg so we had to protect him. "At the end of the game Plessis was injured too so we had to change. We knew Xabi was only maybe 80% of his ability so it was to protect him. "Xabi is our player and he is playing well. If he continues to play well I will be really pleased. But it doesn't matter if you have one good player and you need another one, you have to keep the balance of the team."

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