Figo and Crouch are too expensive for Benitez

The Liverpool manager had agreed terms with Figo on a free transfer before Real Madrid's insistence on a €3m (£2.1m) fee stalled the deal while Southampton chairman Rupert Lowe is continuing to hold out for £8m for Crouch.

Benitez is keen to secure both players before heading to a Swiss training camp this weekend. However, Liverpool will not pay over their second offer of £6.5m for the England international and now face strong competition from Internazionale for 32-year-old Figo.

"We have two or three options for the right-hand side but I think Figo will be difficult now," said the Liverpool manager, who embarks on his first competitive fixture of the season tomorrow against TNS in the opening round of the Champions' League qualifiers.

"We have tried but it doesn't look as good now as it did a few days ago. I know what the problems are but a solution will be very difficult. Maybe we need to look somewhere else now. Crouch is a player I like too. I would like that finished as quickly as possible because I would like them to come with us to Switzerland."

Benitez, who is also in the market for a central defender, could miss out on Figo after Inter indicated they were willing to meet Madrid's asking price. The player's model wife is also believed to prefer a move to Milan over Merseyside.

Jerzy Dudek's Anfield future, meanwhile, remains in doubt despite his impressive performance in last season's Champions' League final. Liverpool unveiled their new £6m goalkeeper, Jose Reina, yesterday, a player Benitez rates as the finest in his native Spain.

Benitez said: "You have to look at the big picture and think what is best for the club, not what happened in one or two games. Jerzy is a good professional, a nice person, and he knows that he needs to work even harder because I have just signed a new goalkeeper. As a manager I need to analyse the whole season and decide what the team needs and I decided we needed a new goalkeeper. I have explained the situation to Jerzy."

Liverpool also completed the £5m capture of Mohamed Sissoko from Valencia yesterday, a deal that could turn former suitors Everton towards Tottenham's Sean Davis as David Moyes tries to strengthen his midfield options.

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