Liverpool boss Rafael Benitez acknowledged the good form of Xabi Alonso, the midfielder he tried so hard to offload in the summer. Benitez said: "What happened in the summer with Alonso is just football, and you always have to try to change things.

"Maybe I will now tell half a dozen players that I may sell them, maybe they will all start to play as well as Xabi!

"It doesn't matter whether I change my mind about something or the player changes his mind. What matters is that as a manager if I have a good player, a good professional, I will use that player for the benefit of the team.

"He is our player and we will try to take the best from him."

Benitez added: "He is showing the quality we know he has. Always he is a good professional, a good player.

"Just like Peter Crouch, who we sold to Portsmouth, people must not forget that these were players I wanted to sign, and did sign. They are good players.

"We did not sell Xabi in the summer because the price was not good enough for such a talented player.

"That is simple, this is a football market, and now he is showing character and we have a very positive situation with competition for every place in the side being very high.

"Alonso and Barry are two different issues. Barry is still a very good player, a fantastic player. As is Alonso.

"Now Alonso is playing well and the team are playing well, that applies to everyone from Steven Gerrard to Daniel Agger."