Alonso: Reds must resolve Rafa tug of war

Liverpool midfielder Xabi Alonso is confident manager Rafa Benitez will agree a new long-term contract at Anfield, but admitted there is a tug of war taking place between the Spaniard and Reds owners Tom Hicks and George Gillett.

The Merseyside clubs' title tilt has tailed off in recent weeks, with the Reds drawing seven out of 10 Premier League encounters prior to last weekend's 2-0 success over Chelsea.

While off the field, Benitez has continued to stall over signing a new contract, believed to be demanding greater control over transfers and the club's Academy.

But speaking ahead of Liverpool’s crucial Premier League trip to Fratton Park to face Portsmouth on Saturday, the Spanish midfielder pledged his full support for the former Valencia boss, saying, in Benitez, Liverpool have the right man to lead them to a first league title in 19 years. “My personal bet is Rafa will stay at Liverpool,” he said. "The owners and Rafa seem to be involved in a tug of war. Even if they are trying to resolve it for the better of the club, there is no question in my mind when you have the right man for the job, securing his continuity is important.

“We’ve been through our bad moments but constant change, or change for the sake of it, isn’t a good thing at a club like this. “When he came here, Liverpool had a massive history but they had lost competitiveness compared to the other European greats – and had spent a long time without winning major trophies. “From his arrival to now, you can feel the progress and that he’s put Liverpool back where they were – amongst Europe’s greats and aspiring to win everything we enter."

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