Benitez sets his sights on 'top class' Red recruits

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The Independent Football

Rafael Benitez has revealed he would relish the added pressure of having to deliver the Premiership title to Liverpool's prospective new owners and already knows the more expensive transfer targets he wishes to pursue should Dubai International Capital complete their £450m takeover of Anfield before the close of the January window.

The Liverpool manager has been well-backed in the transfer market by his chairman, David Moores, and has responded in kind with the European Cup and FA Cup in his first two seasons at the club, but it is the championship that represents the holy grail to the club and where Benitez has been unable to compete on and off the field with Chelsea. That financial gulf, or some might say, excuse, following a disappointing start to this campaign, will be erased once the investment arm of the billionaire ruler of Dubai, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al-Maktoum, assumes control at Anfield, with a buy-out anticipated within weeks once the process of due diligence process is completed.

The removal of any financial obstacles to Liverpool's ambition will naturally increase the demands on Benitez to improve their title credentials and his own, mixed performances in the transfer market. But the Spaniard yesterday insisted: "I was 20 years in Real Madrid where to finish second meant the end of the world. Coming first is my idea, it is my philosophy in every competition we enter. I prefer to have this kind of pressure. It is not easy trying to win trophies by looking for players all over the world at a low price.

"At this club you are always under pressure to win trophies. The responsibility will be the same on me whether I spend one pound or £100. This club is about winning, and so I will have the same responsibility as before. With more money we can sign better players. Maybe it will be easier for the team to win more things. But having more money doesn't guarantee every signing will be a 100 per cent success."

Liverpool have refused to pay £12m for Seville's Daniel Alves and Simao Sabrosa of Benfica during the last two transfer windows but Benitez admits he has raised his sights for January in the hope DIC make significant funds available. "It is not easy to sign top class players in January because they are with top class clubs who are involved in the Champions' League or in championships," he said. "At the moment, we are monitoring the same transfer targets as before but we do have some other names."

Unsurprisingly, the Liverpool manager, whose side entertain Fulham this afternoon, is adamant club traditions can be maintained under foreign ownership. With neat spin, he declared: "When you talk of the tradition of Liverpool, that tradition is winning games and winning trophies. That is the idea of the new people, too. They want a winning team, a winning club, and I'm sure the fans will be happy with that."

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