Liverpool are preparing to increase their offer for Aston Villa captain Gareth Barry to more than £12 million, just as Reds midfielder Xabi Alonso is on the verge of a move to Juventus.
But just as Villa manager Martin O'Neill and Villa supporters have made it clear they do not want to part with their Captain Fantastic, so it seems Liverpool fans are eager to hang on to Alonso favouring him to the Villa midfielder.
Liverpool FC fanzine sites and forums have been inundated with comments from fans on Merseyside desperate to keep the Spanish midfielder who they credit with their Champions League success in recent years and their top four status. And while Barry is revered by fans at Villa Park, he may find his welcome at Anfield tempered should the move finally go ahead.
One fan wrote on the a forum: "This country hasn't done anything yet and yet we have to up the bid to get a fairly average England footballer. Come on people this is Barry - not Tevez or Berbatov. This guy is not worth more than 12 million and to me that is too high."
Another wrote: "Up the bid? And we wonder why our footballers are not in the European championships. We might actually wake up now and stop over-pricing our so called finest footballers. Downing priced at £12 milion, Barry more than £10 million, what next Wayne Bridge at over 10? God this country! Give me Spain anyday of the week "
And another said: "We will regret letting Xabi Alonso go. We have a team of players who can't control the ball let alone pass and we are going to let our equal best passer leave the club. What a sad day."
Barry, who flew from his England duties in Trindad for a short European break with his family, hinted last week that he was to meet up again with Villa boss O'Neill and chairman Randy Lerner, as soon as his national call-up was complete, to decide his future.
But comments he made on Tuesday about wanting Champuons League football have surely now signifed his days in claret and blue may be over as Villa are still a couple of league places off that target.
He said: "Champions League football helps any player. You only have to look at the England squad to see the amount of players who get in the squad and start the games – the majority play in the Champions League.
"That’s all about the decision that will have to be made by myself. Liverpool are in the Champions League and Villa are trying to push for that. That’s all part of my decision if a bid gets accepted."
Benitez was said to be preparing to complete the deal on Alonso depsite the protestations of the fans and is then expected to move swiftly for Barry.
Liverpool have already tabled a £10 million players plus cash bid for 27-year-old Barry which O'Neill rejected at the time as "derisory."
But the sale of Alonso might facilitate the purchase of Barry now although yesterday rumours that Peter Crouch, who last year exclusively told The Birmingham Post he might one day consider a return to Villa because of "unfinished business" were again circulating amid claims the Reds may still be struggling to find hard cash for players.
If Benitez thinks he may now have added power to his arm, however, he still has to win over O'Neill who is desperate to keep hold of his skipper.
Comments made by Benitez over so-claimed "protracted" talks with Villa riled O'Neill, while Reds captain Steven Gerrard also soured relations between the two clubs with his botched attempt at co-ercing Barry to join him at Anfield.
A scource close to Liverpool FC insisted last night however that the club was confident a deal with Villa would eventually be done with Alonso now close to agreeing personal terms at Juve.
The Serie A side, who have already signed up Barry's former Villa team-mate, defender Olof Mellberg, have offered Alonso a five year contract.