Monday, May 10, 2010

Rafa feels he can trun around Anfield fortunes

Liverpool manager Rafael Benitez believes he should be given the time and resources to correct the mistakes of this season.

A goalless draw at Hull just about summed up the Reds' campaign as they missed an opportunity to capitalise on Aston Villa's defeat to Blackburn and move up a place in the Premier League table.

The resulting seventh spot represented Liverpool's worst league performance since 1999.

Although Benitez has been linked with Juventus and now Inter Milan the prospects of him leaving Anfield seem to be more remote than they were a couple of months ago.

The Spaniard stressed in his post-match press conference at the KC Stadium that he was inclined to stay if the club were able to meet certain conditions.

If Liverpool wanted to sack their manager, who has four years remaining on a lucrative contract signed only 14 months ago, it would most likely cost them somewhere between £12million and £16million.

And with their current financial difficulties - figures relating to last season published a few days ago showed the debt of Liverpool's parent company Kop Holdings had risen to £351million - that would be a major undertaking.

Benitez is set to meet chairman Martin Broughton, appointed last month by co-owners Tom Hicks and George Gillett to oversee the sale of the club, for a second time this week.

It is anticipated the pair will try to find some common ground on how to take the club forward, which the manager appears keen to do providing further barriers are not put in his way.

"For any manager, when you have a bad season, you want to improve and change things and I think it has to be this way," said Benitez, who has now gone four years without a trophy having won the Champions League and the FA Cup in his first two years in charge.

"I think all the managers, especially when they are in England and are at a club for a long time, will have good moments and bad moments.

"In football every year you cannot win and win and win. You can see Chelsea winning (the Premier League), not winning and now winning again so it can happen."

Asked if he deserved another chance after such a dismal season, Benitez added: "It depends. 'Senior sources' maybe will say different but it has been the same in the history of football."

The mention of 'senior sources' is in reference to Benitez's belief that a campaign is being waged against him in the media. In his post-match comments he used the phrase half a dozen times in relation to reports which claimed he was prepared to sell captain Steven Gerrard and striker Fernando Torres - a suggestion he dismissed out of hand.

But until he can come up with an agreeable plan for the future with Broughton nothing can be seen as definite.

"Every meeting helps, in one way or another, and at this moment we have to talk about everything," said the Reds boss.

"Hopefully the second meeting will be as positive as the first one...but the press continue with the same agenda.

"I think for the stability of the club it is important because we have to move forward on everything.

"Hopefully we can progress with our next meeting."

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