Two in, two out at Anfield

Rafael Benitez marked the end of French striker Djibril Cisse’s career at Liverpool by revealing that he wanted “a different style of player up front”.

Rafael Benitez marked the end of French striker Djibril Cisse’s career at Liverpool by revealing that he wanted “a different style of player up front”.

And the Anfield boss also maintained that after Cisse suffered two broken legs, a return to the French league with Marseille would be the best way for the player to regain full match fitness.

Benitez unveiled two of his South American imports – Fabio Aurelio and Gabriel Paletta – as Cisse’s Liverpool career drew to a close, while veteran midfielder Dietmar Hamann completed a move to Manchester City.

But it is the departure of Cisse, Liverpool’s record signing at £14m (€20.2m) two years ago, which has caused the most discussion.

The international finished second top scorer last season and his final Liverpool goal was a crucial one in the FA Cup final victory over West Ham.

But Cisse has now joined Marseille on a season-long loan with a potential £8m (€11.5m) transfer at the end of it, having been forced to sit out the World Cup with another fractured leg.

Benitez, with £6m (€8.7m) Craig Bellamy now on board, sees the Welshman as a direct replacement for the erratic Cisse, and said: “We have an agreement for a season loan with Marseille for Cisse.

“It is the best option for him, because after two broken legs maybe it will be more difficult for him now in the English league.

“Now we have (Peter) Crouch, (Robbie) Fowler and Bellamy and that would have made it difficult for him to get matches to regain his fitness levels.

“We wanted more pace, a different sort of striker who would score a different type of goal. Bellamy will give us that.

“Cisse played a lot of games and I am not the kind of manager who does not use players bought by previous managers.

“I use the best for my team, and I used Cisse when I wanted pace, but I wanted something different to take us forward.”

Benitez also believes Seville’s right sided defender Daniel Alves is still a viable option despite months of protracted negotiations.

And that is clearly the priority now with Benitez revealing he does not have a vast amount of money to spend this summer.

The prospect of two £12m (€17.3m) deals – the other being Dutch international marksman Dirk Kuyt – at the same time seems remote.

Benitez said: “We will continue to work on the squad, to find the right players. We are still looking for one player on the right while we now have enough competition on the left, we have a lot of players there with competitiveness which will be good for us.

“Now we must do the same on the right to give us more options. It is certainly the priority. It depends on the market, but I will want to do something on the right for sure.

“We have a limited amount of money to spend, we will try to use our imagination to do something, maybe two or three more players.”

Bellamy, along with Paletta, can expect to make his debut at Wrexham in Saturday’s friendly.

The end of Hamann’s medal-laden spell at Anfield – he has picked up eight winners’ medals – was also a tough decision for Benitez.

The coach said: “I told Didi it would be difficult for him to play the number of games next season that a player of his quality would expect to play.

“And if you know you cannot play every game, it is maybe better to find a club where you will be used more, and that is certainly the case with Hamann.

“He will be happier now. I have been so pleased with him, when he has been called in he has always given us experience and a calm control, a great servant to the club.

“But with (Mohamed) Sissoko and (Xabi) Alonso both now more mature as players, and with Steven Gerrard and Bolo Zenden also there, we have good cover in midfield. We know we are losing a good player but maybe now we can manage.”

The arrivals of Brazilian left sided defender Aurelio and Argentinian centre-back Paletta signal a new direction for Liverpool.

Aurelio, who won two Spanish league titles under Benitez at Valencia, said: “I know the size of the task I have here, but having the trust and the confidence of the manager and having worked for him before was the main reason I have moved to Liverpool.

“I know it is more physical here, but I hope to be able to impose my own game and to impress the manager that way.”

Paletta is more one for the future, but he explained: “This is a big step for me to come from Argentina to Europe, but it was an easy decision to make to join a club like Liverpool.

“It will be difficult, this is a strong squad, but I will work hard to show the manager my qualities.”

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