Liverpool manager Rafael Benitez believes Sergio Aguero may not have become one of the world's most sought-after players had he taken the Argentina striker to Anfield.

The 20-year-old was linked with a move to the Merseysiders before opting to join Atletico Madrid, the Reds' Champions League opponents on Wednesday, from Independiente in 2006.

Benitez told The Times: "Two years ago the agents were talking with us about players and he was one of those but he was too young and [Atletico] paid big money for him, around 18 million euros [about £14 million] for a player who was a risk. In the Premier League it's different and sometimes players will need more time here to improve."

Aguero has justified his price tag, thought to have been around £15million, and would now be likely to fetch at least double that fee were he to leave the Vicente Calderon.

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