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Last Updated: Wednesday, 12 December 2007, 07:10 GMT
Benitez feels Reds job is secure
Rafa Benitez
Liverpool will face an Italian or Spanish team in the last 16
Liverpool manager Rafael Benitez is confident he will keep his job heading into this weekend's meeting with club owners George Gillett and Tom Hicks.

Benitez put his position in doubt after criticising the club's transfer policy.

But the Reds reached the last 16 of the Champions League with a 4-0 win over Marseille on Tuesday to help his cause.

"I have always maintained confidence that I will be the manager of Liverpool," he said. "The fans and players are happy. That is the key."

Steven Gerrard, Fernando Torres, Dirk Kuyt and Ryan Babel each scored in a comfortable win in France, with Benitez's side needing a win to confirm their place in the lucrative knockout stages of the competition.

The Reds now face Manchester United in a key Premier League game on Sunday and Gillett and Hicks will both be at Anfield as the Merseysiders attempt to close the gap on their rivals, who are in second place - six points ahead of Liverpool.


Benitez insisted he has only ever been focusing on his squad and he added: "I was not thinking about the meeting. I must simply try to do my job.

"You could see the players, supporters, everyone were together. Everyone wants to win and we should talk about that, not the meeting.

"I am not thinking about my situation every day, I am just thinking about my team and how they can improve."

Liverpool finished second to Porto in their group and will face an Italian or Spanish team in the last 16, with group winners Real Madrid, Barcelona, AC Milan and Inter Milan prospective opponents.

Sevilla are another possibility - if they top their group ahead of Arsenal - but Benitez was in bullish mood as he looked forward to the next stage of the competition.

"It doesn't matter who we play now," said the Spaniard. "All of them are good sides but we are just enjoying ourselves.

"My team is growing and playing better every week. I'm happy with the way we are attacking and defending."

Marseille coach Eric Gerets pinpointed Gerrard's fourth-minute penalty as the key to Liverpool's win.

"The first goal really hurt us," he stated. "Right after that, you could see the players were nervous on the pitch.

"Every time Liverpool went forward, they looked dangerous. And when you have a player such as Steven Gerrard against you in midfield, it's hard to play against."

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