Reds close in on two more signings

Liverpool boss Rafael Benitez has turned to Deportivo La Coruna right-back Alvaro Arbeloa as possible cover for Steve Finnan, according to the player's club.

Primera Liga side Deportivo said: "There is a verbal agreement between Deportivo and Liverpool for the permanent transfer of Arbeloa to Liverpool." Reports claim that Liverpool will pay a fee of £2.6m for the player.

The 24-year-old was signed from Real Madrid at the start of the season for less than £1m and has appeared in 20 games for his new club.

Lucas Neill had originally been Liverpool's target as cover for Steve Finnan, but his decision to take a bigger pay packet from West Ham rather than play in the Champions League for his claimed boyhood club meant Rafa had to look at his other options. Neill would have played against the Reds tonight but injury in the FA Cup defeat against Watford at the weekend put paid to that.

Also due to come to the club from Spain is, according to the Spanish media, 18-year-old midfielder Francis Duran. The Spanish youngster currently plays for Malaga and is said to be on his way to Liverpool to sign for the Reds. According to some reports Duran hasn't actually signed a professional contract yet with his club, meaning Liverpool will have very little to pay for the player. Other reports are saying that the Reds are to sign him on loan initially. Duran is quoted in Spain as saying it was something he couldn't consider turning down: "It's a unique opportunity and I couldn't let it go by. I have spoken with Rafa Benitez, and I believe that this is the best option for me. To play for Liverpool is a dream for me and now I only desire to fight to play finally for the club." Sounds very similar to what Lucas Neill said very recently.

Tonight's opponents West Ham today had a bid turned down for Darren Bent. Charlton knocked back the £18m bid from the recently bought-out club who are trying desperately to avoid relegation.