Aquilani poised for Reds start

Liverpool boss Rafael Benitez has hinted that Alberto Aquilani will finally make his first start for the Reds in Wednesday's Champions League game with Fiorentina.

The 25-year-old Italian has made three appearances from the substitutes bench but has still to feature in Benitez's starting eleven following his summer switch from Roma.

But speaking after his side's goalless draw at Blackburn Rovers, the former Valencia coach said:"Maybe we will start with Aquilani in our next match because today was a very difficult and tough game.

"We were thinking of putting him on today but the game was too open.

"When a player isn't match-fit, it is a risk to put him on the pitch. Maybe it would have been worse for him. At Anfield, with our fans behind him, I think it will be easier.

"It's also a question of the other players being injured. Gerrard was injured before and is fit now. With Gerrard, Lucas and Mascherano we now have balance in the midfield.

"He is a player who needs to settle down. We are watching him in every training session and he is improving and doing well.

"He can only get match-fitness by playing. We were hoping to play him in the reserves the other day but the game was postponed, so we have to carry on and then he will have a chance against Fiorentina."

Of the Ewood Park stalemate, Benitez added:"I'm a little bit frustrated. I felt we could win the game. In the first half we didn't play very well but it was a difficult match. They were very direct and we were expecting that.

"After that we changed it and we were more dangerous and had chances to win. They also had two counter-attacks which could have seen us lose. But I think the team played much better in the second half.

"It is a clean sheet and we played better football than the other day, so we are improving, but you have to win these types of games. We had chances, but you need to score from them if you want to win matches."

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