Benitez 'agrees new deal to stay at Liverpool until 2010'

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The Independent Football

The Liverpool manager, Rafael Benitez, has signed a new contract with Liverpool, according to reports in Spain. The newspaper Marca claimed yesterday that the Spaniard has signed a one-year extension to a contract due to run for another three years.

That would commit Benitez, 45, to the Anfield club until 2010, ending speculation of a move to clubs such as Real Madrid and Internazionale who have been impressed by the way he led Liverpool to the Champions' League crown last season. However, it seems that Michael Owen will not be the man to address the goalscoring drought that has afflicted Liverpool's strikers - he re-emphasised his commitment to Newcastle United yesterday.

Responding to comments from the Liverpool captain, Steven Gerrard, that the club should try to entice the 26-year-old back to Anfield, Owen said: "It's nice of Steve. He's a friend of mine and I'd expect him to say I was a good player, because I'd say the same about him."

"I'm happy with the decision I made last summer to come to Newcastle. I've loved every minute of it since making that decision."

Owen, who broke a metatarsal bone at Tottenham on New Year's Eve, should be fit to play again early next month.