It appears that Ryan Babel will remain at Anfield this season after Rafa Benitez insisted he had been impressed with the players attitude so far in pre-season,
Xabi Alonso is also with the Liverpool squad in Thailand ready for tomorrow’s game against a national XI.
Babel was widely tipped to be heading for the exit after a disappointing season, and upon interest from Ajax.
“We have been really impressed with Ryan.
“He worked hard in the summer and he came back really fit.
“He’s trying to do his best and that’s very positive when you have a player with his talent.
“The first two years in a foreign country are always difficult. Now he has the right mentality and I’m sure he will improve.”
Mascherano, Dossena and all the Spanish players have now returned to the squad – the only absentee is Steven Gerrard who is dealing with his court case back in Liverpool.
“For us this is a really important stage of the season.
“Everything we do is preparing the players for the first Premier League game. We must spend this time getting them match fit and working on tactics.
“We analysed what happened last year and know what we can improve on. This time is crucial to what we achieve when the season starts.
“We will continue to prepare them well this week and look to play well in the games.
“It was disappointing to lose in Vienna and you can’t be happy when you don’t win but there were lots of positives to take from the game.
“Hopefully we can keep working well and keep working hard over here.”
When asked about Xabi Alonso, Benitez chose his words carefully.
“Xabi Alonso is with us and available.
His future is to enjoy his time here this week with the people in Thailand – enjoy the weather, the game and the journalists. For the next week he will be here.
Liverpool play against Thailand on Wednesday with a match against Singapore to follow on Sunday. Both kickoffs are early afternoon UK time.
“We will talk together about tactics, prepare for the game and try to enjoy our football.
“We have a lot of respect for our fans here so we will try to use all the senior players.
“But the Spanish players and Dossena and Mascherano arrived back late because of the Confederations Cup and internationals, so they will probably not play as much as the other players.”
Benitez went on to suggest that he was happy with his squad and could foresee no further transfer business for Liverpool.
“We have already signed Glen Johnson, an England international, who is a very good signing,” he said.
“Also Andriy Voronin has come back after being one of the best players in the German League.”