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Italy star Aquilani to have Liverpool medical

  • Story Highlights
  • Roma midfielder Alberto Aquilani to undergo medical after Liverpool agree a fee
  • Italy international has not played since March 11 and had ankle surgery in May
  • Liverpool boss Rafael Benitez hopes he will replace Spain star Xabi Alonso
  • Alonso completed his long-expected transfer to Real Madrid on Wednesday
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(CNN) -- Liverpool manager Rafael Benitez hopes that Alberto Aquilani will prove to be an adequate midfield replacement for Real Madrid-bound Xabi Alonso once he completes his move to the English club.

Italy midfielder Alberto Aquilani has been lined up to replace Xabi Alonso at Liverpool.

Italy midfielder Alberto Aquilani has been lined up to replace Xabi Alonso at Liverpool.

Benitez moved quickly to agree a fee for the Italy international, believed to be $33 million, after Spain star Alonso finally completed his much-mooted switch to the Bernabeu on Wednesday.

Aquilani, who still needs to pass a medical test and agree terms, has not played for his Italian side Roma since the Champions League defeat by Arsenal on March 11.

The 25-year-old had ankle surgery in May and seems unlikely to be fit for the start of the English Premier League season on August 16.

But Benitez is confident that Aquilani will be able to slot into a squad which will notably miss the influence of Alonso.

"He is a player with the quality we are looking for," the Spaniard told the club's official Web site. "He can play a little bit higher than Javier Mascherano -- maybe between him and Steven Gerrard.

"He has good passing -- the final ball is good -- and he also works. If he can settle down properly in England he can be a very good addition.

"I think the signing should excite the fans. He won the U19 European Championship with his country, and U21 too. He has some trophies, including the Italian Cup.

"I always remember one game, England versus Italy U21s at Wembley, and he was man of the match in a 3-0 win."

Meanwhile, Benitez is hopeful that Albert Riera will be fit to face Tottenham in the opening league match after the Spain winger was taken off at halftime during Wednesday night's 2-0 win against Norwegian side Lyn.

"He twisted his ankle, but I don't think it is serious," Benitez told "We had to take him off, but it is always better to be careful with these things."

Liverpool bounced back from Sunday's 3-0 defeat by Espanyol in Barcelona with goals from strikers Andriy Voronin and David Ngog.

"There are plenty of positives and you can see the fitness of some players is improving. Some of them are a little bit tired, but we are still working," Benitez said.

"Voronin and Ngog worked hard in the first half with good movement and Babel was very good at beating players.

"In the second half you could see the quality of Gerrard and Mascherano. The team as a whole were good, but two or three players were a little bit better."

All About Alberto AquilaniRafael BenitezXabi AlonsoLiverpool FCAS RomaEuropean FootballItalyUnited Kingdom

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