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UEFA clears Slovenia betting investment

Blog - UEFA
By ESPN Staff

Riera signs as Finnan/Voronin leave + Torres

Rafael Benitez endured a day of mixed emotions after completing the signing of Albert Riera from Espanyol but also losing the services of star Spanish striker Fernando Torres for two to three weeks with a hamstring injury.

Riera, a 26-year-old winger who has five international caps to his name, signed a four-year deal at Anfield this afternoon for an undisclosed fee.

'Riera has the qualities we were looking for,' said Benitez.

'He's a left footer who normally plays on the left wing, he's good in the air, strong, powerful and a good crosser of the ball.

Meanwhile, Torres faces a race to be fit for the Reds' Champions League opener at Marseille on September 16.

Torres limped off in the goalless draw at Aston Villa yesterday and has been withdrawn from the Spain squad ahead of their World Cup qualifiers against Bosnia and Armenia.

Riera became Liverpool boss Rafael Benitez's number one transfer target after England midfielder Gareth Barry committed his future to Aston Villa.

Although unbeaten this season, Liverpool have been far from impressive. Their lack of penetration was evident in yesterday's drab 0-0 draw with Aston Villa in which they failed to register a single shot on target.

Benitez has been short of options down the left-hand side with Ryan Babel away representing Holland at the Olympics until last weekend, while Steven Gerrard has looked ineffective out of position on the wing.

Landing Riera has left Benitez, therefore, understandably delighted.

'He's the kind of player we have been talking about. He can beat players and get good deliveries into the area for our strikers.

'We've known about him for a long time, since he was at Mallorca and then through his career with Bordeaux, Manchester City and Espanyol.

'He can speak English and of course he knows the Premier League, which is a big bonus. Usually foreign players need time when they go to a new country, but Riera already knows the league and the style of football.

'He also had offers from other English clubs but he said no to them because he wanted to come and play for us. That means a lot to me because it shows the commitment he has to play for Liverpool.'

One of the surprise transfers of the day saw Steve Finnan leave Anfield for Espanyol.

The 32-year-old full-back signed a two-year contract at the club after falling down the pecking order following the arrival of Andrea Dossena and Philipp Degen this summer.

He will take the place of Argentina full-back Pablo Zabaleta, who signed for Manchester City yesterday.

Finnan was followed out the door by striker Andriy Voronin who has joined German side Hertha Berlin on a year-long loan.

He has also seen his first-team opportunities limited after Benitez added Robbie Keane to his striking ranks this summer in a £20million move from Spurs.

Benitez's first move of the day was to sign 18-year-old Brazilian striker Vitor Flora from Botafogo.

Goalkeeper Peter Gulacsi, who spent last season on loan playing for the reserves, also signed from MTK Hungaria.


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