Liverpool this morning have not confirmed the latest move in the saga of the midfielder's potential departure to Real Madrid, but sources close to club insist that the 28-year-old has formally asked to leave, according to a report in the Liverpool Echo.

Previously he had only held meetings with Rafael Benitez and verbally told the Anfield boss of his desire to quit.

This latest move will pave the way to his departure, with Real on the brink of making a £28million compromise bid for the Spain international.

Alonso is due back for training today from a short holiday at his San Sebastian home.

But Benitez had told Alonso that he wanted the uncertainty around the player's future to be sorted out before the weekend one way or another.

Madrid's initial bid was for £24million with club president Florentino Perez claiming that the player was over-priced.

Benitez has stuck out for over £30million for the player, and it seems that a revised bid with both sides saving face will break the weeks of deadlock.

Yesterday Liverpool confirmed the £3.5million departure of full-back Alvaro Arbeloa to the Bernabeu, and they expect the delayed £4million move of Andrea Dossena to Napoli to be concluded by the weekend.

So far Benitez has spent £17.5million on England defender Glen Johnson, with much of that fee being wiped out by the cash Portsmouth still owed Liverpool from the purchase of Peter Crouch.

Benitez has raised around £8million from the sales of Arbeloa, Sebastian Leto, Jack Hobbs and Paul Anderson.

If he can acquire £28m from any Alonso sale he will have £36m to spend on the transfer market, with the Dossena fee still to be added.

He has been linked with Wigan midfielder Lee Cattermole, Hull defender Michael Turner, Valencia's David Silva and Roma midfielder Alberto Aquilani.