Benitez close to new Liverpool deal

By Ken Gaunt,Pa
Tuesday 13 January 2009 17:02

Liverpool manager Rafael Benitez has confirmed he has agreed the length of a potential new contract at Anfield as well as the salary on offer.

However he is baffled about reports that he is on a collision course with the club's American co-owners Tom Hicks and George Gillett about the remaining terms of the deal.

Benitez insisted he had not had time to fully digest the contract details as they only arrived yesterday.

It was reported that Benitez had demanded complete control over transfers and more say in the running of the club's youth academy.

However he told the Liverpool Echo: "I don't have any problems at all with the American owners.

"My agent only received the draft document of my contract yesterday evening.

"So my surprise is that some journalists can talk about there being problems before I have even read it properly and discussed it.

"We have agreed the length of contract and we have agreed the salary. Now we have to discuss my role and my responsibilities as manager of the club.

"But we haven't had the opportunity to do that. Someone has information and clearly wants to create a mess, but I haven't discussed anything yet."

Meanwhile Benitez believes the title will be won with less points this season than last year.

Benitez claims the competition throughout the Barclays Premier League is getting tougher by the week.

And that he feels is down to fellow managers raising the bar and making it tougher for the big clubs.

Liverpool are currently in pole position, despite having to settle for a point from a goalless draw against struggling Stoke at the weekend.

However by the time they come to face Everton on Monday in the Merseyside derby, Manchester United could have overtaken them at the top.

The reigning champions entertain Wigan tomorrow and then face Bolton at the Reebok Stadium on Saturday.

United won their second successive title with a total of 87 points and Benitez does not think that figure will be beaten in May.

He told "There is not much of a points difference between a lot of teams. That means everyone can beat everyone.

"The managers are working better and the players understand the game more. Players know how to play against you in every game. That makes it more difficult.

"It could be that it takes fewer points to win the title because you can lose games you expect to win. This could be the situation at the end of the season."

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