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Liverpool ready for approach to rescue Owen

In Monaco to see his side drawn in the same Champions' League group as Chelsea, Parry said that the club were keeping their "fingers crossed" that something could be done to bring Owen back from Real Madrid. Parry also hinted that Rafael Benitez, who has so far opposed his board, could be changing his mind about Owen.

"There's probably been too much speculation already." Parry said. "We will see next week. There has never been a split between us and Rafa over Michael Owen or any other player."

With consensus among the Liverpool board and Benitez over Owen, the only barrier to him returning to Anfield would be the question of the fee with the club reluctant to pay more than the £8m they received for him and not prepared to match the £14m bid by Newcastle. Owen issued a remarkable statement yesterday in which he made clear that Newcastle was his second-choice and that he would only consider a loan move there while confirming that he really wished to return to Anfield.

It is understood that Monaco have shown interest in taking the striker Djibril Cissé on loan - perhaps with left-back Patrick Evra going to Anfield - which would make the case for another striker at Liverpool more pressing. There is also interest in Cissé from Marseilles while Owen has been told by Real Madrid that they will not countenance a loan move.

The sporting director at Real Madrid, Emilio Butragueño, said that he understood the difficulty of Owen's position following the club's signing of new strikers Julio Baptista and Robinho. "Michael is a great player, a great professional and a great person," he said. "But he has to think about his future and the way things are at Real Madrid.

"We have had several clubs approaching us over Michael. But I am not going to name them or confirm if Liverpool is one of them."

Benitez, meanwhile, has warned Luis Garcia he must rediscover his discipline and work-rate of last season in order to silence his critics at Anfield.

The £6m midfielder played an integral role in last season's Champions' League victory, scoring 13 goals in total during an encouraging debut campaign in English football. Since his return to pre-season training, however, the 27-year-old has been omitted from Benitez's starting plans and was jeered by his own supporters when he appeared as a substitute against Sunderland last weekend.