Liverpool chief stands by Benitez

Liverpool managing director Christian Purslow insists Rafael Benitez's job is safe even if the Reds do not win the Premier League this season.

He also says Anfield stars Fernando Torres and Steven Gerrard are not for sale at any price.

Purslow launched his support of Benitez as Liverpool attempted to arrest a run of four successive defeats against Manchester United this afternoon.

He said: "The most important aspect of the football club I was involved in in my first week in the job was securing Rafa for another five years. You only have to look at the Premiership era and our two major competitors in the last 10 to 12 years to see the benefits of longevity.

"Liverpool Football Club is on a long-term journey and that journey is to be the most successful club, firstly in our country and secondly in the world and you don't do that by worrying about short-term results. You do that by having long-term plans centring on the people and the strategy. Rafa Benitez is absolutely central to that plan.

"The core of the team which won 86 points last season remains intact with some excellent additions so I have every reason to believe we can perform at that level this season over the season."

To the direct question of whether he would guarantee Benitez's position was safe even if the club did not win the league he said: "Yes I would."

Purslow, who was speaking on BBC Radio Five Live's Sportsweek programme, also insisted Spanish striker Torres had no clauses in his contract which allowed him to leave Anfield if they did not qualify for the Champions League.

He said: "Fernando signed an extension to his contract this summer. He has a five-year contract. He is a crucial leader in our team. He loves Liverpool Football Club. He has been fantastic around the place. Fernando Torres and Liverpool Football Club go together and I believe they will go together for the length of his career."

To the question that he was not for sale at any price, Purslow replied: "Correct."

The same, he insisted, went for Gerrard, while he said Argentina midfielder Javier Mascherano, whose future has been the subject of speculation, was also happy at the club.

Purslow said: "He is the leading central holding player in world football. It is inevitable that big clubs will covet players of that quality.

"We also had another central midfielder (Xabi Alonso) coveted by a world team in the summer who left us.

"We sat down with Javier at the time and he reasserted his total commitment to Liverpool. He has had a lot going on with the Argentina (World Cup) qualification situation which is now behind him. He is a hugely important player for us. He is a leader and this week in the aftermath of Lyon he has been a powerful figure."

Purslow also revealed Liverpool were four weeks into a process of raising new equity in the club which could take six months.

He insisted, however, that it did not mean controversial American owners Tom Hicks and George Gillett were prepared to sell.

Purslow said: "There has been a huge amount of interest in the club from some extremely wealthy and expert investors but it will take three to six months to pull that together.

"It means there will be new investment into the football club. Mr Hicks and Mr Gillett have no plans to sell their shares. We will be issuing new equity to new investors, broadening our ownership."

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Kara Tointon and Jeremy Piven star in Mr Selfridge
tvActress Kara Tointon on what to expect from Series 3
Voices
Winston Churchill, then prime minister, outside No 10 in June 1943
voicesA C Benson called him 'a horrid little fellow', George Orwell would have shot him, but what a giant he seems now, says DJ Taylor
News
i100
Sport
footballBrighton vs Arsenal match report
Arts and Entertainment
Benedict Cumberbatch has spoken about the lack of opportunities for black British actors in the UK
film
News
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

Syria crisis: Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more refugees as one young mother tells of torture by Assad regime

Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more Syrian refugees

One young mother tells of torture by Assad regime
Iraq invasion 2003: The bloody warnings six wise men gave to Tony Blair as he prepared to launch poorly planned campaign

What the six wise men told Tony Blair

Months before the invasion of Iraq in 2003, experts sought to warn the PM about his plans. Here, four of them recall that day
25 years of The Independent on Sunday: The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century

25 years of The Independent on Sunday

The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century
Homeless Veterans appeal: 'Really caring is a dangerous emotion in this kind of work'

Homeless Veterans appeal

As head of The Soldiers' Charity, Martin Rutledge has to temper compassion with realism. He tells Chris Green how his Army career prepared him
Wu-Tang Clan and The Sexual Objects offer fans a chance to own the only copies of their latest albums

Smash hit go under the hammer

It's nice to pick up a new record once in a while, but the purchasers of two latest releases can go a step further - by buying the only copy
Geeks who rocked the world: Documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry

The geeks who rocked the world

A new documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry
Belle & Sebastian interview: Stuart Murdoch reveals how the band is taking a new direction

Belle & Sebastian is taking a new direction

Twenty years ago, Belle & Sebastian was a fey indie band from Glasgow. It still is – except today, as prime mover Stuart Murdoch admits, it has a global cult following, from Hollywood to South Korea
America: Land of the free, home of the political dynasty

America: Land of the free, home of the political dynasty

These days in the US things are pretty much stuck where they are, both in politics and society at large, says Rupert Cornwell
A graphic history of US civil rights – in comic book form

A graphic history of US civil rights – in comic book form

A veteran of the Fifties campaigns is inspiring a new generation of activists
Winston Churchill: the enigma of a British hero

Winston Churchill: the enigma of a British hero

A C Benson called him 'a horrid little fellow', George Orwell would have shot him, but what a giant he seems now, says DJ Taylor
Growing mussels: Precious freshwater shellfish are thriving in a unique green project

Growing mussels

Precious freshwater shellfish are thriving in a unique green project
Diana Krall: The jazz singer on being friends with Elton John, outer space and skiing in Dubai

Diana Krall interview

The jazz singer on being friends with Elton John, outer space and skiing in Dubai
Pinstriped for action: A glimpse of what the very rich man will be wearing this winter

Pinstriped for action

A glimpse of what the very rich man will be wearing this winter
Russell T Davies & Ben Cook: 'Our friendship flourished online. You can share some very revelatory moments at four in the morning…'

Russell T Davies & Ben Cook: How we met

'Our friendship flourished online. You can share some very revelatory moments at four in the morning…'
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef serves up his favourite Japanese dishes

Bill Granger's Japanese recipes

Stock up on mirin, soy and miso and you have the makings of everyday Japanese cuisine