Benitez to discuss Liverpool future
LIVERPOOL, England (AP):
Rafa Benitez compounded the uncertainty engulfing Liverpool by offering no assurances that he wanted to remain as manager of the club.
The Spanish manager rebuffed several chances after yesterday's 2-0 loss to Chelsea, which meant Liverpool cannot qualify for next season's Champions League, to pledge to see out the remaining four years on his contract and pointedly chose not to quash talk of a move to Italian club Juventus.
Having complained about broken promises from the hierarchy, Benitez plans this week to meet, for the first time, Chairman Martin Broughton, who has been hired by co-owners Tom Hicks and George Gillett Jr to find a buyer for the club.
Looking to future
"I have four years of a contract (left) so we will see," Benitez said. "I was talking about the speculation during the last two or three weeks and I cannot be talking about it all the time. I won't talk too much about this.
"Now I want to talk about football ... we will prepare for the next game (at Hull next Sunday) and then start thinking about things for the future."
What is certain is that next year, Anfield will see no Champions League football for the first time since 2003-04.
The loss to Carlo Ancelotti's Chelsea, which ended any faint hopes of Liverpool finishing fourth, came five years after Benitez masterminded a Champions League final victory over AC Milan - which was, at that time, coached by Ancelotti - at the end of his first season in charge.
Benitez embarked on a lap of the pitch with his players after yesterday's match, the last home game of a campaign that also saw Liverpool crash out of the Champions League at the group stage and then lose to Atletico Madrid in the Europa League semi-finals.
In cryptic responses later, Benitez indicated that he needs to build a team without the financial constraints imposed by Hicks and Gillett Jr, although the American owners have funded several expensive signings, including striker Fernando Torres.
"Always, in the past two years, the manager here have been taking responsibility for everything," Benitez said. "The reality is that if you compare with other teams in terms of money, power and the option you have in the market, you can analyse carefully and then you have answers."