Belfast Telegraph

Thursday 21 August 2014

Kuyt aiming to fly high at Liverpool without Alonso

Dirk Kuyt

Liverpool start life without Xabi Alonso today, with Dutch forward Dirk Kuyt insisting the club “have to look forward”.

Liverpool entertain Fernando Torres' former club Atletico Madrid at Anfield in their final pre-season friendly.

Alonso's £30million departure to Real Madrid in midweek has upset fans only a week before the Premier League season starts.

The £20million replacement, Italian Alberto Aquilani will probably be an interested spectator at the match, but for Kuyt there is still a bright future even without Alonso and a serious title challenge to be mounted.

Kuyt said: “We have a lot of good players still here and we are all determined to go one better in the league after coming so close to winning the title last season.”

And on the departure of Alonso and the arrival of 25-year-old Italy international Aquilani, Kuyt added: “Xabi is a very good player, but these kind of things happen in football.

“Teams are changing all the time. Xabi played very well for Liverpool, but that's all history now and we have to move on.

“We have to look forward. That is what Xabi is doing with Real Madrid and we have to do the same. We have signed a new player with a lot of quality, that is how we must view things.”

While Aquilani is waiting to sign in, Liverpool midfielder Javier Mascherano seems to have given up on his desire to move to Barcelona.

Benitez has firmly rejected any such thoughts, despite pressure from agents and the Catalan club.

Now the midfielder is looking ahead to the new season, admitting he has a little catching up to do on fitness levels after his late return to pre-season training following summer internationals with Argentina.

He said: “Maybe I need a little bit more work because I arrived back when my team-mates had already been back 10 days, but I will be in a good position by the start of the new season.

“After the game against Atletico we will have seven days to get in top condition for the Premier League and our first game against Tottenham.”

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