Benitez shows strain again as he dismisses talk of sacking

Rafael Benitez was forced to dig himself out of trouble yet again yesterday after his gloominess late last week gave rise to suggestions that he fears he will be sacked by his club's American owners.

In what is now becoming an established pattern, Benitez made an unscheduled attempt to dispel the impression that he does not see a future for himself at Anfield in the long term by publicly refuting the weekend's suggestions that he feels deeply insecure.

Benitez finds himself in a constant bind when it comes to his frustrations at Liverpool, the root cause of which is his belief that he, and not chief executive Rick Parry, should have the say on transfers. Though he is professionally unsettled by the situation, his wife Montse loves the city and their new home in Wirral and the couple's children are settled, and it was this that became apparent as he spoke out yesterday.

"I was shocked when I was told about the stories in the Sunday papers and when I saw them for myself I was even more surprised," Benitez said.

"I don't know how many times I have to say I only see my future at Liverpool Football Club before certain people believe me. But I will say it again because it is really important that everyone understands this I love the club, I love the fans, I love the city and I am very, very happy here. I do not see my future at Real Madrid or Inter Milan or anywhere else. I see my future at Liverpool and this is where I want to stay."

As Parry and the club's owners, Tom Hicks and George Gillett, began an all-day meeting in New York to discuss the two proposed new stadium plans for the club the word out of the Hicks camp was that the future shape of Liverpool's ground, rather than Benitez, was the "only subject on the agenda" Benitez indicated that he believes the weekend stories are a result of a misunderstanding during a private conversation with a group of journalists following the regular end-of-week press conference at Melwood. He was visibly upset as he concluded: "All I can say is that I want to be here this summer and many other summers after that."

A decision is expected to be announced on the new stadium scheme today. It is also clear that talks are still going on regarding Liverpool's overall financing, with the Americans still searching for a deal to refinance their original loans to buy the club, and to find the cash for the new stadium.

The Spaniard's mood would certainly have improved yesterday as the Zenit St Petersburg centre-back Martin Skrtel moved a step closer to becoming the most expensive defender in Liverpool's history, after passing his medical. A 6.5m fee has been agreed with Zenit and personal terms have been agreed with the player.

The Slovakia international centre back will plug the gap left by the long rehabilitation from a broken metatarsal of Daniel Agger and now the injury of Sami Hyypia. Benitez is hoping Skrtel will go straight into the squad for Liverpool's trip to Middlesbrough on Saturday, a match that Fabio Aurelio has also been ruled out of with a minor hamstring injury.

Momo Sissoko, the midfielder in whose ability Benitez's faith has seemed perverse at times this season, seems to be heading out of Anfield for Juventus. Juve manager Claudio Ranieri expressed his desire to capture the Mali international in a deal that could be worth 11m and Sissoko revealed yesterday that he would be delighted to join the Italian club.

"I hope they can find an agreement," he told French radio station RMC. "I am really happy that a club like Juventus want me. Right now, I want a new challenge. The last few months with Liverpool have not gone as I wanted. But this is the nature of football and I now have the chance to go somewhere else and show what I can do."

Liverpool also claimed yesterday that stand-in captain Jamie Carragher was spat at and had beer thrown over him ahead of a confrontation with Luton fans at the weekend. Carragher was pictured standing on a barrier and arguing with supporters in an executive box after the Reds' FA Cup third-round draw at Kenilworth Road.

But Liverpool and, it is believed, the Football Association will not be taking any action against the 30-year-old defender. Liverpool received several calls from supporters yesterday insisting that Carragher was not to blame for what transpired. A Liverpool club source said: "He probably would have been wiser not to get involved, but there is only so much that any human being can take."

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Life and Style
life
Arts and Entertainment
Cold case: Aaron McCusker and Christopher Eccleston in ‘Fortitude’
tvReview: Sky Atlantic's ambitious new series Fortitude has begun with a feature-length special
Voices
Three people wearing masks depicting Ed Miliband, David Cameron and Nick Clegg
voicesPolitics is in the gutter – but there is an alternative, says Nigel Farage
Voices
The veterans Mark Hayward, Hugh Thompson and Sean Staines (back) with Grayson Perry (front left) and Evgeny Lebedev
charity appealMaverick artist Grayson Perry backs our campaign
News
i100
News
people
Sport
Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho
footballThe more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him
Life and Style
Vote green: Benoit Berenger at The Duke of Cambridge in London's Islington
food + drinkBanishes thoughts of soggy school dinners and turn over a new leaf
News
Joel Grey (left) poses next to a poster featuring his character in the film
peopleActor Joel Grey comes out at 82
News
i100
News
business
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

Isis hostage crisis: The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power

Isis hostage crisis

The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power, says Robert Fisk
Missing salvage expert who found $50m of sunken treasure before disappearing, tracked down at last

The runaway buccaneers and the ship full of gold

Salvage expert Tommy Thompson found sunken treasure worth millions. Then he vanished... until now
Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

Maverick artist Grayson Perry backs our campaign
Assisted Dying Bill: I want to be able to decide about my own death - I want to have control of my life

Assisted Dying Bill: 'I want control of my life'

This week the Assisted Dying Bill is debated in the Lords. Virginia Ironside, who has already made plans for her own self-deliverance, argues that it's time we allowed people a humane, compassionate death
Move over, kale - cabbage is the new rising star

Cabbage is king again

Sophie Morris banishes thoughts of soggy school dinners and turns over a new leaf
11 best winter skin treats

Give your moisturiser a helping hand: 11 best winter skin treats

Get an extra boost of nourishment from one of these hard-working products
Paul Scholes column: The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him

Paul Scholes column

The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him
Frank Warren column: No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans

Frank Warren's Ringside

No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans
Isis hostage crisis: Militant group stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

Isis stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

The jihadis are being squeezed militarily and economically, but there is no sign of an implosion, says Patrick Cockburn
Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action

Virtual reality: Seeing is believing

Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action
Homeless Veterans appeal: MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’

Homeless Veterans appeal

MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’ to help
Larry David, Steve Coogan and other comedians share stories of depression in new documentary

Comedians share stories of depression

The director of the new documentary, Kevin Pollak, tells Jessica Barrett how he got them to talk
Has The Archers lost the plot with it's spicy storylines?

Has The Archers lost the plot?

A growing number of listeners are voicing their discontent over the rural soap's spicy storylines; so loudly that even the BBC's director-general seems worried, says Simon Kelner
English Heritage adds 14 post-war office buildings to its protected lists

14 office buildings added to protected lists

Christopher Beanland explores the underrated appeal of these palaces of pen-pushing
Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Scientists unearthed the cranial fragments from Manot Cave in West Galilee