ALBERTO AQUILANI is on the brink of leaving Liverpool.
The Italian midfielder’s hopes of forcing his way into Brendan Rodgers’ plans have been dashed.
Aquilani wasn’t involved in Saturday’s 0-0 draw with Tottenham in Baltimore and didn’t fly back to the UK with the Reds squad. The 28-year-old instead headed for Rome after being granted permission to hold talks with a number of Serie A clubs about a permanent move. Fiorentina are among those to have expressed an interest in signing him.
One stumbling block is Aquilani’s lucrative five-year contract, which he signed following his £18million switch from Roma in the summer of 2009. His salary at Anfield is an eye-watering £6.5million per year (£125,000 per week).
That makes agreeing personal terms elsewhere problematic, but Liverpool are hoping Aquilani’s desire to play regularly will convince him to accept a move.
With Milan having turned down the chance to buy Aquilani for £5million in May, Liverpool are unlikely to be able to command much of a fee.
Aquilani has been an expensive mistake since he was bought as Xabi Alonso’s replacement.
He was recovering from ankle surgery when he signed and during his first season at Anfield he struggled with form and fitness.
Aquilani scored two goals in 26 appearances but after the departure of Rafa Benitez he played just twice under Roy Hodgson before being packed off on a season-long loan to Juventus.
Last summer, Kenny Dalglish sent him to Milan and now Rodgers has also decided he doesn’t fit the bill.
Meanwhile, Rodgers says Saturday’s friendly with Spurs came too soon for England duo Glen Johnson and Martin Kelly.
Steven Gerrard, Andy Carroll, Stewart Downing and Jordan Henderson all made their first pre-season appearance but Johnson and Kelly weren’t involved.
“You have to look at every individual’s needs as you can’t expect them all to be the same,” Rodgers said.
“The likes of Steven, Jordan and Stewart are natural athletes but others take that little bit more time.
“Glen just needs an extra few days of conditioning.
“It’s the same with Martin. He’s a young kid and I need to do my best to ensure his conditioning ensures he picks up less injuries in games.”
Daniel Agger was rested for the clash with Spurs but could feature in Thursday’s Europa League third qualifying round first leg tie against FC Gomel in Belarus.