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Liverpool boss Benitez: We must be careful with Aquilani comeback

Liverpool boss Rafa Benitez says they need to be careful with the return to full fitness of summer signing Alberto Aquilani.

Aquilani, the £20million Italian midfielder signed in the summer to replace Xabi Alonso, played in a Liverpool shirt for the first time on Wednesday night in the reserves as he continues his recovery from ankle surgery.

But Benitez insists the 25-year-old needs time to settle in even when he is fit enough for the first team - and that is still some time away.

He said: "Alberto is intelligent, he likes football and he has been watching our games. He can see the pace is different here and the physical approach.

"There is a difference between what you see and how you play but when he gets out and feels the atmosphere here, it will be something special for him. When will he play? It depends on how he is physically.

"He has got very good levels of stamina but now he has to improve his sharpness. To get match fitness he needs to play games and what we have to do is analyse carefully which game is the best and how long he will play for.

"Always with a new player we talk about the problems they have settling down because the Premier League is very quick and it is more physical. So for a new player who has been injured, like Alberto, it will be even more difficult. It is a question of keeping him training and when he is fit, we have to support him.

"We will have to choose the right moments to put him on the pitch. But he is learning all the time and we are looking forward to playing him."

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