Saturday, August 22, 2009

Rafa backs Sotirios and Ayala to shine

Rafa Benitez has spoken of the qualities the former Rangers man will bring to Anfield. The new signing has even been given his squad number 16.

“He is a tough defender who is strong and good in the air. He has a strong character and we were looking for these things,” Benitez said.

“He can score goals and will be a threat from corners and free-kicks. He’s very strong in defence but he will need time as always to settle into the Premier League.

“We knew the player when he was with Rangers and we’ve been watching videos of him at Frankfurt and the national team. Our scout department had a lot of information.

“We’ve talked about the things he’s done before and the things he’ll have to do for us. He knows what we want and he’s ready to work.”

Daniel Ayala impressed in his full debut against Stoke in mid-week, and with Agger’s back injury, Ayala and Martin Kelly would have been hoping to try and impress Benitez. The Liverpool boss insists the new signing will only help Liverpool’s young defenders – not hinder their progress.

“I was talking with Ayala about this.

“When the young players see someone with experience it is positive because they can learn from them.

“It also means they have more time. If they have to play some games they can but they are not under pressure.”

Daniel Agger faces surgery next week to attempt to solve a long-standing back injury and Martin Skrtel is still a doubt for the visit of Aston Villa on Monday night.

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