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Last Updated: Monday, 14 January 2008, 14:32 GMT
Alan Hansen's view
Alan Hansen
By Alan Hansen
BBC Sport football expert

Liverpool co-owner Tom Hicks's admission that he spoke to Jurgen Klinsmann about becoming the team manager is an amazing story.

I haven't got a clue why he has come out and said this; maybe the story was going to come out and he thought he'd be better off making a statement first.

Rafa Benitez
Could Rafa Benitez be about to say goodbye to the Liverpool fans?

Whichever way you look at it though, these events cannot do anything but undermine manager Rafael Benitez.

His position is not untenable, but for one of the owners to come out and publicly say he had talks with the man who was heavily linked with Benitez's job - well, it puts even more pressure on the Spaniard.

Benitez is saying nothing, which I think is the most sensible thing to do. But if there is tension between him and the owners, this is only going to heighten it.

I think that is the biggest thing for me. If it adds to that tension then that will eventually start to affect the team on the pitch, that's an absolute certainty.

606: DEBATE

Players aren't really interested in new stadiums and things like that, it doesn't affect them. But when something affects the manager who is picking the team and influencing their careers, you can bet it will start to have an impact on them.

Liverpool are obviously struggling at the minute.

They have had four draws on the trot, they are 12 points adrift of Manchester United and Arsenal in the Premier League, and I think this is the last thing they need.

It has definitely come at a bad time. There's never a great time for stories like this to come out, but it's far better if you are flying. They are off the pace and it will be interesting to see how this one pans out.

If Alan Shearer says he is ready for Newcastle, then the consensus of opinion would be that he will be successful

Insurance policy or whatever Hicks wants to call it - and we have to take him at his word because he is apparently a man of great integrity - the fact is he met Klinsmann and offered him the job if Benitez went, which is remarkable.

I think that in the Premier League, every manager apart from Sir Alex Ferguson and Arsene Wenger are two games away from the sack, so things might not have changed much from that point of view.

Shearer for Newcastle?

Meanwhile, the hunt is still on for a new manager at Newcastle after Harry Redknapp turned the job down.

One name on everyone's lips seems to be Alan Shearer - the fans definitely want Alan, no question.

Everyone is saying he has got no experience and that is relevant, but I have known Al for a while now and he is very single-minded and very intelligent, football-wise.

Newcastle fans at Old Trafford with a banner demanding Alan Shearer as their new manager
Newcastle fans make it plain who they want to be their new manager

Kenny Dalglish went in at Liverpool and won trophies and Klinsmann did well with Germany, so experience isn't everything.

I don't think there's a problem for Al, it's just up to him whether he wants to do it or not. If he says he is ready, then the consensus of opinion would be that he will be successful.

Al has said that one day he would like to be the manager of Newcastle, so he has to decide whether that is now or sometime in the future.

The Newcastle fans love him and they would give him a real chance to succeed, there would be no problem there at all.

If Alan Shearer was the Newcastle manager, with the support they have got the St James' Park roof would come off, it would give everyone an enormous lift.

Is he the logical candidate? Well, yes, because there are not too many others that jump out at you.

Alan Hansen was talking to Jonathan Stevenson



SEE ALSO
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Comment: Benitez on the brink
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Keegan fuels Magpies speculation
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Shearer receives Redknapp backing
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12 Jan 08 |  Premier League
The big issues at Newcastle
12 Jan 08 |  Newcastle United


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