Midfielder hails Gerrard

Aquilani has to wait for debut

August 13, 2009

Liverpool midfielder Alberto Aquilani has spoken of his pride at wearing the same colours as Steven Gerrard.

Alberto Aquilani
GettyImagesAlberto Aquilani: In training

Aquilani was presented to the media on Thursday after arriving from Roma for a fee reported to be about £15m.

He was keen to point out he is a long-term admirer of Gerrard's qualities.

Aquilani said: "Even before coming to Liverpool, I thought Steven Gerrard was the strongest midfielder in the world.

"I will be very proud to play alongside him and hope I can learn from his game.

"I am looking forward to playing in the same team with players of that kind.

"Liverpool have had good players for a number of years and I have always liked their system of play."

Aquilani and Gerrard have something in common apart from being midfielders - they are both injured.

Gerrard remains doubtful for the match against Tottenham on Sunday with a groin injury, which forced him to miss England's 2-2 draw against Holland.

Manager Rafael Benitez is closely monitoring his talisman's progress and said: "I am not sure about Steven. I was really pleased he was pulled out of the squad as a precaution.

"You could see there were six substitutions in the game, so Fabio Capello was doing great for the players.

"As our game is on the Sunday, then maybe Steven will have a chance. If it was on Saturday it would be more difficult."

Aquilani arrived at Anfield with an ankle injury, which Benitez knew about. It means he will not make his debut for several weeks.

However the Italian believes Liverpool have already got to the root of the problem and come up with a long-term solution.

He said: "At Roma my worries were linked with injury. But when I came to Liverpool, the doctor highlighted exactly the problem I have.

"We now have a very good picture and I hope it will be solved so that I will not be absent again.

"It is a shame I cannot play straight away but it is important to get better, then play well. I am focusing on that."

Despite his setback, Aquilani is not concerned about the physical aspect of England's top flight.

He said: "I cannot wait to be involved as it is a different type of league to the one in Italy and a difficult level to play in. I am very excited about what lies ahead.

"This is a very important occasion for me as I am joining a big club with a rich history.

"While this is one of the best leagues in the world, Liverpool have to be one of the main candidates for winning the title."

Aquilani has replaced Xabi Alonso at Anfield and added: "He was very important player at this club.

"But I am not his natural substitute as I do not have the same characteristics as him.

"I have different style in that I like to move around and not stay in the same place."