Benitez refuses to be drawn on Juventus link

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The Independent Football

Liverpool manager Rafael Benitez admits he is proud to be linked with Juventus but insists he is "really happy" at Anfield.

Over the last fortnight the Turin club have made Benitez their top managerial target and today sacked Ciro Ferrara following five defeats in the last six Serie A matches, an early exit from the Champions League and a Coppa Italia quarter-final loss to Inter Milan last night.

Alberto Zaccheroni has taken charge in the interim but his appointment is only until the end of the season and will increase speculation about Benitez's long-term future.

Reports in Italy had suggested a Juve delegation had flown to Merseyside this week to convince the Spaniard to leave Anfield in the summer but Benitez side-stepped that issue.

"I am not here to talk about speculation because people talk too much," said Benitez.

"I am focused on preparing my team for the game against Bolton (tomorrow).

"I know they (Juventus) were interested, that is part of the game now in football, but I am not ready to talk too much because I don't want to lose my focus.

"When you are a manager and you have clubs asking you have to be proud because they are a top side in Europe but I am really happy here and want to do my job as best I can."

Despite being under pressure himself after failing to make the knockout stages of the Champions League, losing to Reading in the FA Cup and dropping off the Barclays Premier League pace, the signs are things are turning around for Benitez.

Liverpool are undefeated in five league matches, accruing 11 points, have conceded just one in that spell and are three points off fourth place, which the Reds boss has guaranteed they will achieve this season.

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