Rafa: Keane still important for Liverpool

Liverpool striker Robbie Keane has an important role to play in the title run-in but must earn his place in the team, manager Rafael Benitez said on Tuesday.

Keane has struggled to establish himself since his 19 million-pound ($26.81 million) move from Tottenham Hotspur and his exclusion from the squad for the FA Cup tie against Everton on Sunday fuelled reports that he might be sold.

"Robbie Keane is a good player, maybe he is not playing at his level but he wants to fight for his position," Benitez told reporters.

"It doesn't matter about the name or the price I have to think about the best player for the next game."

Keane, who has scored just five Premier League goals this season, will be in the squad to face Wigan Athletic on Wednesday, a game Liverpool need to win to reinvigorate their stuttering title assault.

"Other people are talking too much about this," Benitez said. "Robbie had a day off on Sunday like the other players who were not involved.

"He trained on Monday and today as normal -- he will be in the squad for tomorrow. We are just thinking about using him in tomorrow's game.

"He is working very hard and will be a very important player for the rest of the season."

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