Liverpool co-owner Hicks expects Benitez to sign new contract

January 17th, 2009 - 12:56 pm ICT by IANS  

London, Jan 17 (DPA) Liverpool co-owner Tom Hicks says he expects manager Rafael Benitez to sign a new contract with the English Premier League leaders in the coming weeks.Benitez, whose contract expires in the summer of 2010, told the Liverpool Echo newspaper Friday that he had rejected the existing offer because he wants more control of all footballing affairs, including transfers.

But Hicks told Sky Sports Friday that he and co-owner George Gillettt will be working with Benitez to iron out the Spaniard’s concerns.

“(The fans) should relax - Rafa is going to be manager of Liverpool for the next five years and we’ll work through these little lawyer issues,” Hicks said.

“I’m absolutely comfortable in saying Rafa loves Liverpool and will be the manager.”

Hicks said he and Gillett would be working together over the coming days to sort everything out.

“We understand Rafa’s frustrations and we’re committed to working with him and his advisors to find a solution here,” he said.

“We’ll keep talking. I’m coming over for the Chelsea match (Feb 1) and we’d already planned to get together on the Jan 30 and 31 to talk over a number of issues.

“We’ll clear up anything that’s been talked about here and now we want to keep our focus on the pitch - we’ve got the derby (against Everton on Monday) coming up.

“There are certainly no issues between Rafa and the owners in any way. There are issues he wants to work out to make things better for the club.”

Benitez said last week that he had agreed the length of a new deal and the salary, and reiterated Friday that his rejection of a new deal had nothing to do with money.

“I have to say again that this is not about financial gain. This is not a way to get more money,” he said.

“This is solely about being allowed to manage Liverpool Football Club to the best of my abilities as I see them.

“I have a lot of experience in football at different clubs and if you do not have a technical director and you are the manager you have to have control of the football decisions - but always within the confines of a budget which is controlled by the owners and the club.

“In this scenario the manager knows the amount money he has available to him and can decide how much he should spend on each player according to the needs of the team.

“The only person who can decide the value of a player to his squad is the manager because he knows what elements are needed to improve the squad.

“I believe that this club has the potential to improve and I just want to be able to help this to happen.

“I will continue to do my job as manager and concentrate on the thing that our fans want me to focus on - winning trophies for them.

“From the first day I came to the club I have only ever given 100 per cent and I will continue to do this.”

Liverpool are top of the league standings, chasing their first English league title since 1990.

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