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Midfielder finally set to make Liverpool bow on Friday

Those cheeky chappies at the Daily Torygraph reckon Rafael Benitez’s pencilled Friday into his diary as the date Gareth Barry finally pulls on a red shirt.

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August 8th sees Liverpool take on Lazio in a mouth-watering friendly, which should provide a sterner test of the Reds’ pre-season form than recent opponents.

Villa are still holding out for around £18 million, more than Liverpool were originally prepared to pay, but Liverpool co-owners Hicks and Gillett are now understood to have agreed to underwrite the fee in what amounts to a short-term loan, says the Telegraph.

Steve Finnan, who has spent the last five years at Anfield, is being tipped to be included in the deal although why Martin O´Neill would want an ageing right-back who is clearly past his best remains to be seen.

Liverpool will take on Norwegian side Vålerenga in Oslo tonight in front of what is expected to be a sell-out crowd.

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