Fact! Johnson is worth the money, says Benitez

Click to follow

Liverpool's new £17m full-back Glen Johnson will make his Liverpool debut in Switzerland tomorrow with boss Rafael Benitez insisting he is worth the money.

Johnson will play in Liverpool's first pre-season friendly against St Gallen.

Benitez admits, like Manchester United boss Alex Ferguson, that the transfer market has gone mad this summer.

The Spaniard said: "Yes, the money people are asking is crazy. I hear, for example, that people at Seville are asking for 41m euros for Daniel Alves. That is a lot.

"The market is crazy, but you must pay good money for good players.

"The money for Johnson is OK. He is English, an international with quality and he is worth the money.

"He is a very good attacking player. If you try to buy a winger it can be £50m to £60m at current prices, but Johnson as an offensive full-back can give us more options.

"He can be good for us, especially when we are at home and teams are defending against us. Going forward he will give us something different, something special. He is a good addition for us."

Benitez has 24 players at the club's Swiss training camp, and says: "We will try to use all the players. Our idea is to use one team in the first half and change it at half-time.

"We have the video of their recent game against Basel and they were well organised - the manager knows what to do. The main thing for us is to get the match fitness, the result is not too important even though we want to win every single game - but it will be interesting.

"The important thing is to see how the team is on the pitch and see the understanding between the players."

Apart from Johnson, Benitez will want to run the rule over a batch of youngsters with the squad. Martin Kelly, Mikel San Jose, Daniel Pacheco, Peter Gulacsi, Daniel Ayala and Krisztian Nemeth will all have a chance to impress.

Liverpool will be joined by Javier Mascherano on Thursday after he became a father for the second time at the weekend, which has delayed his arrival in Switzerland.

Transfer speculation still revolves around the Argentina captain, as well as Spanish midfielder Xabi Alonso, who is due to join up with the squad on Sunday after the friendly with Rapid Vienna in the Austrian capital.

Despite Real Madrid's continued interest, Alonso is due to travel to the Far East with Liverpool for next week's two friendlies against Thailand and Singapore.

Benitez has also made it clear that Mascherano - despite interest from Barcelona - will be expected to honour his contract, which still has over two years to run.

Benitez said recently: It is clear that they both (Alonso and Mascherano) are under contract with long-term agreements."

Alonso has asked Benitez to allow him to join Real Madrid, but the Liverpool manager will not sell below £30m.