(photo credit: AP)
Yossi Benayoun said he can't wait to play his first game for Liverpool after he was officially introduced by the Champions League runner up in a press conference with fellow new signing Ryan Babel and manager Rafa Benitez on Friday afternoon.
"I am very excited to be at a big club like Liverpool and it is a dream for me," said the Israel captain, who was given the number 11 shirt. "I had a good time at West Ham but when a club like Liverpool shows an interest in you then you can not refuse them."
The 27-year-old midfielder signed a four year deal on Thursday, joining from West Ham for a reported fee of Â£5 million. Benayoun will become the third Israeli to play for Liverpool, following in the footsteps of defender Avi Cohen and striker Ronnie Rosenthal.
"This is the biggest move of my career and I am at a club that fights for trophies every season. I'm 27 now and I am ready for this challenge," Benayoun said. "I know the Premiership and I want to work hard in every training session and in every match and prove myself.
"Liverpool is a massive club with great supporters and I can't wait to play my first game in a red shirt."
Liverpool boss Benitez spoke glowingly about his latest acquisitions on Friday and predicted a bright future for them on Merseyside.
"Both Babel and Benayoun have lots of quality. They are good creative players, the kind of which our supporters will like," said Benitez, who completed the signing of Ajax forward Ryan Babel on Friday for an estimated Â£11.5 million.
"I've admired both players for a long time and what was also really important to me was the fact that they both wanted to come here so much. They've a strong desire to improve and win trophies.
"I think we've worked really hard this summer. A lot of names have been spoken about but we've always had our targets. Yossi Benayoun was one of them and Ryan Babel was another. We are really pleased.
"Benayoun can play as a winger and also as a second striker. He has a similar style to Luis Garcia and for opposition defenses he will be difficult to control.
"Both will be important players for us. Ryan may need a little time to settle down in the Premiership but Yossi already has experience from his time at West Ham."
Avi Cohen, who was the first Israeli to play for Liverpool, joining the club from Maccabi Tel Aviv in 1979, said he is confident Benayoun will be a big success at Anfield.
"Yossi has played very well for West Ham and has already shown he has got the ability and talent to perform at the highest level," Cohen said. "He is very skilful and clever. He is good at being able to spot the right pass to play. Liverpool has been looking for someone like him and I'm sure he will get into the side and be a great success."
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