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Benitez urges Alonso to stay at Liverpool

LIVERPOOL manager Rafa Benitez has urged Xabi Alonso to stay at the club, indicating he is not resigned to losing the midfielder to Real Madrid.

At a training session yesterday ahead of tomorrow's friendly against Singapore, fans waved banners and chanted for Alonso to remain with Liverpool. A group of 21 fans lined up in the stands wearing shirts that spelled out, 'Xabi, please don't leave' in Spanish.

"I told him that he could hear the fans yesterday," Benitez said today. "I said to him, 'Maybe you have to stay.'"

"Clearly, my idea is he's a very good player and we'll be really pleased if he stays."

Real Madrid are thought to be eager to sign Alonso, but yesterday also completed the signing of midfielder Esteban Granero from Getafe. Granero is a player in a similar mould to Alonso, both noted for passing accuracy and shooting.

During the preseason Asian tour, Benitez had also been forced to fend off fresh talk of the departure of defensive midfielder Javier Mascherano.


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