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Aug 20, 2010

Liverpool flop Aquilani set for Italian loan

Alberto Aquilani is likely to join an Italian club on loan after new Liverpool boss Roy Hodgson revealed Rafael Benitez's £20 million signing isn't in his first team plans.

• Live transfer blog: August 20
• Kuyt ponders Inter move

Injuries helped prevent the midfielder from living up to his hefty price tag last season after joining from Roma a year ago and although he didn't say Aquilani's Liverpool career was over, Hodgson admitted the club was looking to farm out the 26-year-old Italian.

Benitez was criticised for his work in the transfer market during his Liverpool reign and the signing of Aquilani, who was injured long-term when he arrived at Anfield, as the expensive replacement for Xabi Alonso, was widely considered to be a bad piece of business. Aquilani showed some promise when he did take the field but those occasions were too few and far between for a key summer purchase.

Aquilani was not included in Liverpool's squad for Thursday night's Europa League play-off against Trabzonspor and discussions are underway over a possible move.

Hodgson said: "At the moment we are considering possibly loaning him to an Italian club, but nothing is sure about that yet so I don't have anything definite to report. I didn't want to use him (against Trabzonspor) just in case the loan goes through, because for Aquilani this year it's very important that he plays regular football, every week, as the number one man on the teamsheet.

"I can't promise him that here so if a loan move to Italy could help him in that respect it might be good for all parties. It would certainly be what he needs, it would certainly protect the value of the player and when he does return to Liverpool no doubt we will see the Aquilani that we signed before he came here injured last year.''

Aquilani had a history of injury problems when he joined Liverpool and it was more than two months into last season before he made his debut for the club. Hodgson has given no indication as to which Italian club he could join but he was linked with Juventus - from whom Liverpool have just signed midfielder Christian Poulsen - earlier in the year.

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