Benayoun set for new Anfield deal

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Yossi Benayoun seems certain to be rewarded for his best season in English football with a Liverpool contract extension.

The majority of Liverpool's stars returned for pre-season training on Monday, as the club announced new deals for two of their most promising homegrown youngsters.

But the belief that negotiations over 29-year-old Benayoun's future have been concluded successfully will be welcomed by fans after the Israel skipper scored nine goals in 42 games last season.

His most memorable strike was the winner at the Bernabeu in the Champions League against Real Madrid, and from that moment in February he appeared in all but three of Liverpool's final 16 games of the season.

That was his most consistent spell since joining from West Ham in 2007, and he steadily produced his best form, scoring seven goals in the run-in.

He has two years left on his current deal, and has been given an extra 12 months plus a wage rise to end speculation that he could be moving from Anfield.

Liverpool have also confirmed Jay Spearing and Stephen Darby have agreed new terms.

Spearing, who captained the FA Youth Cup winning side of 2007, has made a big impression as a competitive midfielder and made his senior debut last season as a substitute in the Champions League home mauling of Real Madrid.

The memory of the Kop rising to sing the youngster's name as he trotted onto the pitch alongside some of the greats of European football is one of the more endearing moments of last season, and underlined their desire to see local youngsters given a chance by boss Rafael Benitez.

Darby, a former reserve team skipper, made three first-team appearances last season.

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Stephen Darby
European News
Yossi Benayoun
Premier League
UEFA Champions League
Jay Spearing

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