Benitez rejects new Liverpool contract

Liverpool co-owner Tom Hicks said he expected Rafa Benitez to be the club's coach in five years' time despite media reports saying the Spaniard had rejected a new contract.

The Liverpool Echo quoted Benitez, 48, as saying he will only agree to a new deal if he is given more control over football matters rather than having to answer to a chief executive.

"The owners feel that the manager's decisions need to be subject to the chief executive," he told the Echo.

"But I know I am subject to the results and to our fans and they are the best judges I will ever have."

He also said it was not about financial gain, explaining: "This is solely about being allowed to manage Liverpool Football Club to the best of my abilities as I see them.

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

Hicks told Sky Sports News the frustration Benitez feels can be resolved and that they have a good working relationship.

"I am just not worried about it at all," Hicks said.

"The fans should relax, Rafa is going to be coaching Liverpool for the next five years and we will work through all these little lawyer issues."

Benitez took over as Liverpool manager in June 2004, leading them to victory in the Champions League final over AC Milan in 2005.

He also won the FA Cup the following year and although Liverpool have not won the title under him, they are top of the Premier League with 17 matches of the season remaining.

Hicks added: "We understand Rafa's frustrations but we have a strong working relationship, are united behind the team and we are committed to working with him and his advisors to find a solution.

"Rafa loves it at Liverpool, wants to be the manager and will be the manager. (Co-owner) George Gillett and I will be working with the lawyers to get this resolved and I am just not worried about it at all."

Liverpool's next two matches are both derbies against Everton, in the Premier League on Monday followed by their FA Cup fourth-round tie on January 25.


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