Gerrard eyes glory as Alonso eyes exit

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The Independent Football

Steven Gerrard has underlined his commitment to Liverpool as his midfield colleague Xabi Alonso nears the Anfield exit door.

As Gerrard prepares to lead Liverpool in their second pre-season friendly on Sunday against Rapid Vienna in the Austrian capital, the chances of the Reds skipper and Alonso both being on the plane later that night heading for the club's Far East tour are increasingly remote.

Real Madrid officials are working to avoid Alonso having to travel with Liverpool for games in Thailand and Singapore next week, and it is believed negotiations are continuing over a likely £30m transfer.

But for Gerrard, the desire for glory with Liverpool and England burns as brightly as ever.

Gerrard has made it clear that he wants the Barclays Premier League title, another Champions League success and a World Cup victory with England before he considers coaching and management at the end of his career.

"I still have many more dreams, and that means winning the Premier League because that is the only medal that is missing from my own personal collection," he told www.uefa.com.

"And it would be really nice to go to a tournament with England and to be successful, so that means the World Cup next summer for me.

"I want to go one better than a quarter-final, which is the farthest so far that I have gone in a tournament.

"It's the last four and the final that I now am aiming for. And I want another success in the Champions League too.

"People could see my reaction when I lifted that trophy in 2005, how much it means to me, my team-mates and the supporters. That was the best night of my career and I want to match it and experience that success again."

Once his playing career ends - and he has intimated that his current contract taking him to 33 will be his last - Gerrard already has plans to remain occupied.

He said: "Now I am thinking about what I will do at the end of my career, I'm not getting any younger.

"It would be nice to stay involved in the game. I'm not sure at what level as either a manager or a coach or even going into the media. I want to stay involved because football is so important to me."

Gerrard's partnership with Alonso at the heart of Liverpool's side, however, looks to be over.

With Alonso having made it clear to manager Rafael Benitez that he wants to leave the club, the Spanish manager has been determined to get the very best price for the 30-year-old.

The end of the agreement this weekend with Alonso's former club Real Sociedad that would have seen 20 per cent of any sell-on fee going to the Basque club gives Liverpool and Madrid some negotiating room.

Holland midfielder Wesley Sneijder is now being linked in a player-plus-cash compromise. Benitez could also use the Alonso fee to buy Valencia's attacking midfielder David Silva.

Benitez has other targets, and has again been linked with Roma midfielder Alberto Aquilani, despite the player's agent ruling out a move earlier in the week.

Roma coach Luciano Spalletti said: "We need to be open and listen to any type of offers that are proposed to us."

Roma director Bruno Conti added: "The situation as it is right now is that Aquilani will remain until there is a club that makes an offer."

Javier Mascherano, a target for Barcelona, rejoined the Liverpool squad last night and will be involved against Vienna. He has held talks with Benitez and been told he will not be sold.

Liverpool are about to announce the signing of one new player, 16-year-old Danish midfielder Nikolaj Kohlert from Esbjergs.

The player and his agent Allan Nielsen have been in talks today in Liverpool. Nielsen said earlier: "The only thing remaining is the personal contract.

"I see no immediate problems in the clubs agreeing. This is a fantastic opportunity for a 16-year-old and he is ready both as a person and as a footballer. He will probably start in the academy on a scholarship before he turns 17.

"After that it will be the reserve team and then he will get a professional contract for three years with an additional option for Liverpool.

"It is a really good contract. All that's remaining now is to get the details in place."

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