Liverpool's Benítez wants Spain hero Villa

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Liverpool manager Rafael Benitez has revealed that Valencia striker David Villa is right at the top of his summer short list.

Villa's stunning showing at Euro 2008, where he was top scorer with four goals as Spain claimed a long-overdue international crown, has seen him become perhaps the hottest property on the transfer market.

The 26-year-old is tipped to leave los Che after a disappointing season that saw them flirt with relegation, although new coach Unai Emery is desperate to keep him at the Mestalla.

Liverpool has always been mentioned among the lead candidates to capture Villa's signature, given the impressive link the ex-Real Zaragoza hitman formed with Reds ace Fernando Torres in Austria and Switzerland.

And now Benitez has confirmed he is intent on raiding his old hunting ground to bring El Guaje to Anfield, although he understands his former club might not be willinge sellers.

"We have Torres, Voronin, Kuyt, Babel and Steven Gerrard, who can play as a second striker," Benitez said. "But we will try to bring in another option. Villa we know all about. He is on our list. But maybe it will be difficult."

Villa's potential acquisition raises questions about what position Gerrard will play next season, as the Liverpool skipper had begun to form an impressive attacking partnership with Torres last term.