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The Carling Cup first-round matches get underway this midweek and we’ve got every match covered in our BestPrice betting coupon.

Liverpool have dismissed speculation suggesting there is a rift between manager Rafa Benitez and the club’s American owners over the proposed signing of Gareth Barry.

However, Anfield chief executive Rick Parry has confirmed that owners George Gillett and Tom Hicks don’t think that Barry is worth Aston Villa’s £18m asking price.

“On this occasion Liverpool think the price quoted is too high,” Parry said.

Benitez has been pursuing the England international throughout the summer. The Spaniard was said to be willing to pay the £18m asking price for Barry, while the American owners believed it was too much for the 27-year-old.

But Liverpool issued a statement on their website late on Saturday in which Parry said: “This is not about questioning the manager’s judgement or the ability of a particular player.

“The owners have clearly demonstrated throughout the year they are willing to back Rafa in the transfer market and will continue to do so.

“It is obviously the selling club’s prerogative to put whatever price they want on the player, but on this occasion Liverpool think the price quoted is too high.”

After Liverpool beat Lazio 1-0 in a friendly on Friday, Benitez reiterated his desire to sign Barry.

“The situation is not a question of money,” he said. “He is English and can play three different positions, but I am talking about someone who can play on the left.”

The Carling Cup first-round matches get underway this midweek and we’ve got every match covered in our BestPrice betting coupon.

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