Rafa Benitez keen to seal contract deal

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The Independent Football

Rafael Benitez wants his new contract signed and sealed before the end of the month.

The Liverpool manager will open talks on an extension to his current deal next week after a "positive" phone call from co-owner Tom Hicks.

But Benitez has made it clear he is only interested in a new long-term deal which would extend his stay at Anfield to at least a decade.

Benitez has been manager of Liverpool for four and a half years and has 18 months of his current deal still to run.

He has told the club's American owners he is looking for a contract which will allow him to be part of Liverpool's "long-term future."

And with a strong belief that there could be a change of ownership in the next six months still existing, it makes sense for Benitez to want his future sorted out quickly.

He said: "My idea is to do it as soon as possible. I would like to see it signed before the end of the month if that is possible.

"They have to talk to my agent about the conditions of the deal, but clearly the length of the contract is crucial.

"If I can stay here for a long time I would be very pleased. It is rare to see managers at clubs for a long time, but that would be the right way.

"Stability is the key to winning trophies and being contenders for the title."

Asked about a five-year contract, Benitez added: "Clearly that would be very good, I would like to be here for a very long time.

"I do not want to keep talking about my contract. It is not good for the team and it is not good for the club. We are in a good position that could be good for the future, so I want this contract concluded quickly.

"We have been improving the squad for five years so in the future we can be contenders and we can win more trophies.

"I told him (Hicks) that it had to be done quickly because the team is playing well. I do not want to be talking about this for weeks and months.

"They promised me it would be quick.

"The team is very strong, you can see the progress. There is a new stadium soon and I want to be part of the future of Liverpool."

Benitez will welcome back Fernando Torres tomorrow for the visit of West Brom after the striker missed six games with a hamstring injury.

And after defeat at Spurs and a Champions League draw with Atletico Madrid, the progress on the manager's future will be well received.

Benitez added: "It is very easy and simple for me. I am in the place that I want to be, I am happy and pleased to be here.

"I have joked about staying for 20 years, but maybe I cannot be manager for that long.

"The main thing is the team is doing well and the club is going in the right direction. The squad is stronger, everything is positive."