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By ESPN Staff
Aug 10, 2007

Alonso happy with summer squad building

Xabi Alonso believes Liverpool now have the ability to make an impact in the title race.

The Basque midfielder will be a key component of boss Rafael Benitez's side as they embark on a new campaign at Aston Villa on Saturday.

And Alonso revealed he is confident that the new players who have arrived the club in a £40million summer spending spree, will be up to the task of maintaining a consistent title challenge.

Alonso said of Benitez's buying: 'The manager has bought good, new offensive players and that will be a major boost for us.

'I understand the expectations from the fans, I have been a fan myself and it is normal for supporters to have a lot of faith in the players.

'It is up to us to produce the form needed to match those expectations.'

And Alonso is raring to go, saying: 'We are all now glad that pre-season is over and we are looking forward very much to the new season and the game at Aston Villa.

'We have worked very hard now for several weeks and we are in good condition.

'Everyone is ready, and everyone is available. We have no injury worries and it is all now down to the manager's selection for the match.

'I know everyone is asking us already about the title race, and I understand that. But I would prefer to just consider each game and hope that we can put together the performances we need.'

He added: 'Over the last three years we have sometimes lacked consistency away from home and we have not always started the season well.

'Now we have to look at those sort of games, and the way we start a season, and make sure we improve. I feel now that we have the squad to do that.

'I have signed a new contract and I am very happy with the work the manager has done in the transfer market this summer.

'It is getting harder to win the Premier League, the standard is improving every season with the players coming into the country. But week by week we believe we will have the quality needed.'

Benitez has a fully fit squad to chose from, which leaves him with a tough task of selecting his two strikers with Dirk Kuyt, Peter Crouch, Andriy Voronin and Fernando Torres all battling for a spot in the starting line-up.

And the manager points out that the size of your transfer fee does not ensure a starting place.

He said: 'We have played big money for people like Torres, but that is the market. When they get into the squad they are all equal, the fee does not come into it.'