Liverpool hold fresh Barry talks

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The Independent Football

Liverpool are believed to be involved in new talks with Aston Villa to settle the future of England midfielder Gareth Barry.

Sources at the Anfield club insist that currently no deal has been struck or fee agreed, however only yesterday boss Rafael Benitez reiterated his desire to sign the 28 year-old midfielder, who has been the subject of an angry summer saga over a move away from Villa Park.

Liverpool have previously had four bids turned down, but despite Villa boss Martin O'Neill's attempts to persuade his former skipper to stay, Barry has not publicly withdrawn his wish to leave the midlanders.

Barry has played in a friendly at Walsall and the second leg of Villa's Intertoto Cup success over Odense which has placed them in Friday's UEFA Cup qualifying draw.

Barry has not been cup-tied for the Champions League by playing in the Intertoto competition.

Villa fans booed Barry at Walsall, but at the weekend staged a remarkable level of support for a player who has spent 10 years at the club.

After the match O'Neill was linked with a possible new contract offer for the player and suggested that Villa "valued Barry more than Liverpool did".

But there has been no reciprocal reaction from Barry, who had told O'Neill recently that he still wanted to leave.

Liverpool's latest approach has materialised because Benitez has bids on the table for Jermaine Pennant and Yossi Benayoun. Blackburn want winger Pennant while Manchester City and West Ham are targeting Benayoun.

Benitez made it clear yesterday he was not willing to sell Spanish full-back Alvaro Arbeloa, despite a £7m bid from Sevilla.

But if he can get good money for Pennant, Benayoun and possibly Andriy Voronin, he will be able to raise the bulk of a fee for Barry.

Benitez said: "We knew that we could only spend money by selling players and we have been doing this (for Robbie Keane).

"We are still trying to sign the players that we need and if we need to sell someone now, OK, we will do so. If we can do it (the Barry deal) before the end of the transfer window, we will continue to try."

There is still the prospect that Steve Finnan could be used as a makeweight, which would take the offer over the £18m that O'Neill is insisting on.