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Alonso desperate for a resolution to Real saga

Xabi Alonso is desperate for a resolution to his on-off transfer to Real Madrid.

The Liverpool midfielder has expressed his relief that the two clubs are talking seriously about a move, after he handed in a transfer request at Anfield.

Rafael Benitez has again insisted he wants Alonso to remain on Merseyside and now the 28-year-old - who is thought to have remained in Spain after Liverpool's friendly against Espanyol in Barcelona on Sunday - has told Spanish newspaper AS he wants a decision one way or the other.

"It's reassuring to know that Madrid and Liverpool are talking seriously now," he said.

"I decided a long time ago to stay on the margin of everything that was happening. My stance has been clear, as you all know. I'm a professional and I must wait for an agreement to be reached, but I hope it is resolved soon, for better or for worse.''

Liverpool managing director Christian Purslow met with Madrid executive director Jose Angel Sanchez in Barcelona on Sunday to discuss Alonso but said that no agreement had been reached: "This (meeting) has only served to put our positions on the table. We need to continue talking.''

Benitez said: "He is our player and we want him to stay."

Alonso came off the bench in the friendly for the closing minutes and it remains unclear whether he will start the season with Liverpool.

Benitez saw his side suffer a 3-0 defeat to Espanyol in a pre-season friendly, as former Chelsea forward Ben Sahar scored twice against a strong Liverpool team, captained by Steven Gerrard.

Benitez brushed off the setback of losing in a match which was set up to officially open Espanyol's new stadium.

"Nobody likes losing like that, but it's pre-season so it doesn't matter. I'm not worried about it," he said.

Asked if Javier Mascherano, who has been linked with Barcelona, will leave, Benitez said: "No."

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