Liverpool set ceiling for Riera price

Liverpool boss Rafa Benitez won't be held to ransom by Espanyol over his interest for Albert Riera.

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The Times says Espanyol reacted to news of Liverpool's renewed interest in Riera by emphasising that the player has a £16 million release clause in his contract.

Liverpool are unwilling to pay more than £10 million for Riera, who spent four months on loan at Manchester City in 2006, and may turn their attention to Stewart Downing, the Middlesbrough and England winger, who signed a new five-year contract at the Riverside in February.

Riera, 26, is thought to be Benitez's first choice, however, and he will hope to use his relationship with Paco Herrera, Espanyol's sporting director and a former scout at Anfield, to agree a deal.

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