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LIVERPOOL'S hopes of offloading Alberto Aquilani this summer have been plunged into doubt after AC Milan cooled on a permanent deal for the on-loan midfielder.

Aquilani is on a season's loan at San Siro, with the terms of his agreement stating if he plays 25 games he will complete a £6m transfer.

However, it has emerged substitute appearances for the Seria A club count as only half a game, meaning Aquilani is three games short of the required number of starts.

Aquilani cost £20m in 2009 and Liverpool have been trying to sell him for the last two years, despite the massive loss they will have to accept.

Now the 27 year-old faces the prospect of returning to Merseyside in the summer.