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Hazard shines but Blues stumble

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By ESPN Staff

Cisse 'very close' to Marseille loan switch

Djibril Cisse 'already considers himself a Marseille player', according to the French club's chairman Pape Diouf.

Diouf claims he is talking to the outcast Liverpool striker every day and the Merseysiders, who today denied making a bid for Real Betis winger Joaquin, are on the brink of sanctioning a season-long loan deal that will take Cisse to the south of France.

The 24-year-old has been told by Liverpool boss Rafael Benitez he has no future at Anfield, causing the striker - ruled out of the World Cup with a broken leg - to blast the Spanish coach for his attitude.

But the France international, who was injured just days before Germany 2006 and has now been denied a chance to play in Sunday's showpiece final, is resigned to a move to Marseille - according to Diouf.

He told French newspaper l'Yonne-Republicaine: 'We are very close to an agreement, and we think it will be a one-year loan deal.

'I still have a few details to discuss with Rick Parry [Liverpool chief executive], this agreement has to be sanctioned by his board of directors but I hope it will be all right.

'Things can happen very quickly now. We will only announce Cisse's signing after the papers have been signed.

'But I talk to Djibril every day on the phone - for him he is already a Marseille player.'

Cisse expects to have recovered from his injury by October.

Liverpool, who have made three signings this week - Mark Gonzalez, Fabio Aurelio and Gabriel Paletta - have denied rekindling their interest in Joaquin, despite sources in Spain insisting a bid has been made involving Jerzy Dudek, Bolo Zenden and Antonio Barragan in a possible exchange.

Parry said: 'This is simply not true, we don't know where this has come from.'

Joaquin has been quoted as saying he would only be interested in joining Liverpool if he cannot secure a move to Real Madrid.