Belfast Telegraph

Saturday 23 August 2014

Aquilani in line for Liverpool debut

Alberto Aquilani could make his Liverpool first-team debut in the Carling Cup tie at Arsenal tomorrow.

The £20million Italian midfielder has been fully involved in Liverpool's training this week, and is clearly being considered for a role - probably from the bench - at the Emirates Stadium for the fourth-round tie.

Liverpool are being extra careful over specifying Aquilani's possible debut, but boss Rafael Benitez is expected to make a final decision first thing tomorrow before the squad travel to London for the match.

Aquilani played for 15 minutes of a reserve match last week, having been recovering from a knee operation since his arrival at the club in the summer.

The former Roma man is clearly relishing the prospect of playing a part in Liverpool's season, having witnessed the atmosphere at Anfield for Sunday's 2-0 win over Manchester United.

Aquilani says: "It was incredible to be at the stadium on Sunday.

"It was one of the best games I have seen so far. I don't normally like to watch a match inside a stadium when I am not playing, but I really enjoyed Sunday.

"When I was in Rome, although the stadium was bigger, it did not have the same atmosphere as here. Because the fans are closer to the pitch at Anfield, you can feel the atmosphere better.

"It was very important to win against United and hopefully it can give us more confidence."

While the 25 year-old acknowledges he is still short of match fitness, he is already relishing the prospect of a first-team bow.

He said: "It was good to play for the reserves because I haven't played for a long time, but to play for the first team is something different again and I am looking forward to that.

"I really want to play, but I need to be patient, I know the time will come for me.

"I will be very happy when I make my debut. This is my job, it's what I am here to do, and I am looking forward to it."

With his first-team debut finally on the horizon, Aquilani was keen to thank his fellow players and the staff at the club's Melwood training ground for helping him settle into life on Merseyside.

He added: "I want to thank all the players and the people at the club because they have been very helpful to me since I arrived here.

"Obviously as Andrea Dossena is here and speaks Italian, he has helped me, but I want to take the opportunity to thank every player.

"It has been difficult, but now I want to build up my confidence and I hope to bring out the best of my game here."

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