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English Premiership

Liverpool swoop for Rodriguez

LIVERPOOL, January 14 – Argentina international winger Maxi Rodriguez left Atletico Madrid for Liverpool on Wednesday as the English Premier League giants attempted to rescue their faltering season.The 29-year-old Rodriguez, who has moved on a free transfer, signed a three-and-a-half-year deal with Rafael Benitez’s side after spending four years in the Spanish capital.

"We were looking for players with character and a good mentality," said Benitez whose team are seventh in the Premier League and five points off the Champions League places.

"He has played for Argentina and Atletico Madrid and is a player with personality.

"He can play in three positions – on the right, left or as a second striker – and is someone with a very positive mentality, which is what we are looking for.

"He is comfortable on the ball, can pass and keep possession. He is good at getting into the box and scoring goals and a good finisher. Every year he gets five to 15 goals from the right side of midfield.

"I know he was not doing as well as he did in the past at Atletico Madrid, but he is doing really well with Argentina and wants to impress for the World Cup."

Rodriguez joined Atletico from Espanyol in 2005 but was replaced as captain this season by Spain’s Antonio Lopez.

Benitez hopes Rodriguez will settle quickly with the help of compatriot Javier Mascherano and former Atletico team-mate Fernando Torres.

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"He knows Mascherano and Torres and he can provide a lift for some players," said the Liverpool boss.

"I think he will adapt to English football because he is a clever player and takes up good positions on the pitch."

Atletico, who finished fourth in the league last year, have been active in the transfer window after a poor start to the season that has seen them crash out of the Champions League and struggling in the league.

However, wins in their last two league games, against Sevilla and Valladolid, have given cause for optimism.

Spanish media said on Tuesday Atletico had reached a deal to sign 19-year-old striker Eduardo Salvio from Argentine side Lanus for eight million euros,

And last week it bought Portuguese international midfielder Tiago from Juventus.

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