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Page last updated at 12:27 GMT, Sunday, 9 August 2009 13:27 UK

Liverpool sign Aquilani from Roma

Alberto Aquilani
Aquilani has played 11 times for Italy

Liverpool have signed Roma midfielder Alberto Aquilani on a five-year contract after the Italian international passed a medical.

The 25-year-old has joined the Reds in a deal that is reportedly worth £20m.

Aquilani has not played since March due to an ankle injury and is only expected to be fully fit in around four to eight weeks time.

Liverpool said in a statement: "He will continue his rehabilitation under the guidance of our medical team."

But manager Rafael Benitez says Liverpool always knew of Aquilani's injury problem and added the club can cope without him for the beginning of the season.

"When we were talking (to Roma) about Aquilani we knew he was recovering from an operation and would not be able to play for the first weeks of the season," admitted Benitez.

"But we can wait for him. We have enough midfield and offensive players to cope, and when he does start to play everyone will see what a clever player he is."

Aquilani is Liverpool's second major summer signing after England right-back Glen Johnson joined from Portsmouth.

Benitez targeted the Italian on Wednesday just hours after the Reds sold Spanish midfielder Xabi Alonso to Real Madrid for £30m.

"We had to think about players who could make a difference for us," said Benitez.

GazLFC-The Rymenocerus

"He is a very good player on the ball, and hopefully he can produce the sort of passes that we missed last season. Certainly at home against packed defences when we could only draw important matches.

"Alberto has a winning mentality and great experience in both Serie A and the Champions League."

Aquilani, has played 11 times for Italy and has been with Roma, the club he supported as a child, since he was 16, making his debut as an 18-year-old under now England boss Fabio Capello.

"Aquilani has long been recognised as a top class talent in Italy, captaining his country at both Under 19 and Under 21 levels before establishing himself in the senior national side," said Benitez.

The Italian had an operation on his ankle injury in May after struggling with injury problems which restricted him to just 14 appearances for Roma last season.

The Reds had also been linked with Wigan's Lee Catermole and Valencia's David Silva.

Last summer a move for then Aston Villa midfielder Gareth Barry - now at Manchester City following a £12m summer transfer - fell through after Benitez was unable to sell Alonso to raise the sufficient funds for the deal.

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see also
Alonso completes 30m Real move
05 Aug 09 |  Liverpool
Benitez coy on Alonso Reds future
20 Jul 09 |  Liverpool
Alonso remains a target for Real
10 Jul 09 |  Europe
Benitez insists Alonso will stay
24 May 09 |  Liverpool

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