Rafa says Rieira will solves wide problem
Liverpool boss Rafael Benitez believes new boy Albert Riera will give his side the width and attacking flair they crave. The Espanyol winger arrived on Merseyside for a medical and expects to tie up an £8million move, but he is highly unlikely to be involved in the Premier League trip to Aston Villa. However, Benitez sees the former Manchester City loan player as a key weapon in his attacking armoury. Benitez said: 'We are very, very close to a deal for Riera. The player is here for a medical so the deal is not finalised yet. 'He will be a good addition for us. He has experience of playing in the Premier League for Manchester City, he has qualities we need. 'We need to improve in wide areas. And we are trying to find a solution. 'Riera is a left-winger, has experience in the Premier League, so I would expect him to settle down quickly. 'Wingers are difficult to find, so we have searched and we believe we will sign one soon. We also have Fabio Aurelio and Andreas Dossena who can also work out wide. 'But I need competition and quality to give us more width in our game, and Riera will provide that.' Benitez, who expects to have Javier Mascherano back to replace Steven Gerrard, who has had a groin operation, said of Villa: 'They are a very good team with some good players, and they have spent well in the past few years and brought in some excellent players.' But Benitez accepts he may face a torrid reception from the Villa fans after the summer-long transfer saga involving Gareth Barry, which has finally come to an end with the player staying at Villa Park. Benitez said: 'I do not know what response I will get on Sunday (from Villa fans) but I will be only concentrating on what goes on out on the pitch. 'I do not want to say too much, I do not want to analyse too much what has gone on before because we cannot change things now. 'I am now only concerned with how to beat Villa and how to control Barry on the pitch. 'Do I have a good relationship with Martin O'Neill?....I don't think so. But of course I will shake his hand, I am a calm man and I do not have any problems with him about that.' He added: 'I had a good relationship with Martin O'Neill before this summer, and I was surprised at what has been said but I insist that I have not spoken to him since April. 'But I do not believe there will be any problem shaking hands, we can do it. 'We know that Barry is a good player, very good for them. We will try to contain him on the pitch and not talk too much about other things that have happened in the summer. 'It is important that we all concentrate on football. But I expect Barry to do his best for his team.'