Liverpool boss hails Benayoun signing

The Spanish boss believes Benayoun can fill the gap in the squad vacated by the recently departed Luis Garcia.

"They are similar," agreed Benitez.

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"Maybe Luis is a player who scores more goals and Benayoun tends to make more assists. Like Luis, he is a very technical, clever player with a lot of game intelligence. He can also play in many positions, giving us a different option for the team.

"I first saw him play for Racing Santander in La Liga when he was a really good player, but when he first came to England we were watching to be sure he could adapt to a different style of football.

"It's clear he's done this very well at West Ham. Liverpool fans will remember how he played in the FA Cup Final against us when he was outstanding. We thought then this was a player who is capable of stepping up to a higher level."

As with recent signing Fernando Torres, Benitez says Benayoun's determination to move to Anfield was a key factor in the Reds sustaining their interest.

"He was offered a big new contract at West Ham and received offers from a lot of other clubs offering him more money," explained Benitez.

"But Yossi's message was always the same. He said he was desperate to only join Liverpool because this was his dream. When Rick, the Americans and I spoke about the player, we all agreed this is the kind of attitude we and our supporters really like.

"When you have quality players with his ability showing so much passion to play for your club, it's really good for the team."

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