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Jan 2, 2010

Benitez gets cracking on Reds' transfer business

Frantic transfer activity at Liverpool is expected as the Reds prepare to face Reading in the FA Cup. Manager Rafael Benitez is promising "not too many changes" to his side for the Sunday clash at the Madejski Stadium, but there could soon be changes to his Anfield squad.

The Spaniard has been linked with a host of players with the transfer window having only just opened, while sources in Spain and at the club suggest there is a good prospect of Atletico Madrid's winger Maxi Rodriguez arriving on a six-month loan.

Talks are believed to be ongoing for the 29-year-old, who is a close friend of Reds midfielder and Argentina team-mate Javier Mascherano.

Striker Andriy Voronin could be the first to depart, with Zenit St Petersburg and Spartak Moscow both interested in the player.

Voronin has been on holiday over the Christmas period, having been frozen out by Benitez since a wasteful appearance in the Champions League draw in Lyon.

A string of missed chances by the Ukrainian ultimately ended Liverpool's genuine hopes of qualification for the last 16.

Benitez is considering Greece international full-back Vasil Torosidis as a replacement for Glen Johnson, who could miss up to two months with his knee injury.

Asked if he was considering signing a full-back, Benitez said: "Yes, we are working hard (on transfers) and trying to do our jobs, and we'll see if we can do something.

"We are looking in the market but it's not easy to find good players available because the majority of them are playing in top sides. But we are trying to find solutions if we can.

"We have some good players who people are interested in because they're not playing too many games for us, but we have to manage carefully."

Ryan Babel will be allowed to leave, but his agent has been told there is no chance of a loan move, while Andrea Dossena is a target for Atletico Madrid.

Other players linked with Liverpool are Galatasaray midfielder Arda Turan, Standard Liege striker Milan Jovanovic, Malaga defender Ivan Gonzalez and Crystal Palace youngster Victor Moses.

But first, Liverpool need to avoid a cup disaster in Berkshire, having established some measure of confidence and form with back-to-back league wins over Wolves and Aston Villa.

Benitez added: "The FA Cup is always important, but when you are out of the Champions League it becomes a major trophy.

"Our fans are still thinking of winning silverware this season, so that means the FA Cup. It is a very important competition for us now.

"We must look at our squad and decide what we are going to do at Reading. We have more training sessions to see how they are, but because the competition has added importance now maybe we will not change too many players.

"We know we are facing Spurs eight days later, but that does give us more time to get players fit so we can field a strong team at Reading."

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