EXCLUSIVE Aquilani: I am nothing like Xabi

New Liverpool signing Alberto Aquilani insists he is not a ready-made replacement for Xabi Alonso at Anfield, revealing the pair could have formed a lethal central midfield partnership had the Spaniard not departed for Real Madrid.

The Italian international arrived for €20 million from Roma earlier this summer in the aftermath of Alonso's sale to the big-spending Bernabeu giants.

And while the 25-year-old continues to sit on the sidelines for his new side nursing an ankle injury that is expected to keep him out of action for a month, his new team-mates have made a stuttering start to the new campaign.

Fans and former players of the club have already begun attributing the Reds' early-season form to the absence of Alonso's defensive qualities in the heart of the pitch.

But anyone expecting Aquilani to come in and fill the void left by the Spaniard should think again, according to the player himself.

"Alonso is for sure one of the best midfielders in the world, and so I am more than honoured to be compared to him," he says in the October issue of FourFourTwo, out now.

"We are not the same kind of player: I think I’m more attacking than him but he has a terrific long pass and a unique vision for the game. I guess we could even have played in the same team."

Aquilani made more than 100 league appearances for the Giallorossi  after breaking onto the first-team scene in the Eternal City in 2002, netting nine goals.

And the Italian international, who has represented his country at every level from U16 upwards and made 11 outings for the Azzurri, says goal-scoring is one area of his game he is determined to improve during his time on Merseyside.

"I’m a midfielder who can attack but also plays deep. My favourite position is behind the strikers because I like building the game, making the final pass," he says.

"I don’t score many goals and this is what I want to improve. I consider myself a team player and I always give everything on the pitch."

Read the full interview with Aquilani in the new issue of FourFourTwo magazine, out now, which also includes a 14-page special on Barcelona and Real Madrid with interviews from Perez, Kaka, Iniesta, Laporta, Raul, Puyol, Hierro, Stoichkov and Laudrup.