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Liverpool quiet on Benitez speculation


Rafael Benitez

Rafael Benitez

Rafael Benitez

Liverpool have yet to comment on reports that manager Rafael Benitez is poised to leave Anfield.

It has been claimed the club are in discussions to bring the Spaniard's six-year tenure to an end.

The 50-year-old's position has been the subject of speculation for some time, particularly with the Reds finishing a disappointing seventh in the Barclays Premier League this year.

It is understood Benitez would be entitled to a £16million pay-off if his current contract was terminated now, but talks are thought to be under way to reach a settlement.

A figure of £3million compensation for Benitez to leave now has been widely mentioned, which would allow him to seek immediate re-employment elsewhere.

Benitez, linked with Real Madrid and Juventus in recent months, is now being tipped as a potential successor to Jose Mourinho at European champions Inter Milan.

Reports meetings were taking place began to circulate last night but the club did not comment and again declined to do so this morning.

Benitez's agent Manuel Garcia Quilon has also remained tight-lipped, saying last night: "We don't know anything more than what's being said. We're not saying anything."

Former Valencia boss Benitez succeeded Gerard Houllier at Liverpool in 2004 and led the club to Champions League success in his first season.

He followed that with FA Cup victory in 2006 and another Champions League final appearance 12 months after that, but the Premier League title has remained elusive.

Liverpool finished runners-up to Manchester United in 2009 but have since slipped back alarmingly.

They were eliminated from the Champions League at the group stage in a troubled campaign and failed to finish in the top four to re-qualify for the elite competition, despite a Benitez "guarantee" they would.

Benitez signed a five-year contract in March 2009 but if reports the board have met to discuss his potential exit are correct, his position appears untenable, even if he does not accept a pay-off.

Any severance deal would have to be carefully negotiated with the financial implications for Liverpool considerable. Recent accounts figures put the club's debt at £351million.

Belfast Telegraph