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Last Updated: Monday, 4 July, 2005, 18:25 GMT 19:25 UK
Gerrard seems set to quit Anfield
Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard could be on his way
Liverpool skipper Steven Gerrard looks set to leave Anfield after his agent said talks over a new deal had broken down and were unlikely to start again.

Gerrard, 25, has two years on his deal and was expected to sign an extension.

But agent Struan Marshall told BBC Sport: "Talks have stalled and are unlikely to be re-opened."

Liverpool chief executive Rick Parry told the Liverpool Echo: "We still hope this situation is repairable. We are completely surprised by the comments."

Manager Rafael Benitez, speaking at a news conference on Monday to unveil new signing Bolo Zenden, insisted he wanted Gerrard to remain at Anfield: "We want him to stay with us all his life.

However, it appears Gerrard could well now be sold, for as much as 30m, before Liverpool open their defence of the Champions League crown with a qualifier against Welsh side TNS on 13 July.

The likes of Chelsea and Real Madrid, who are the two favourites to land the England star, will not want him to play in that game as he would then be ineligible to play for anyone else in the competition.

Equally a deal could in theory still be done to keep Gerrard at Anfield, although this seems an increasingly unlikely prospect.

The relationship between the club and the captain appears to have started to deteriorate over the weekend, with Gerrard's representatives claiming the club have not placed a high enough priority on the talks.

It is said the player's agents put forward a contract which Gerrard would have signed - only to receive no reply from the club.

Marshall was not prepared to comment further than confirming negotiations had stopped, but Parry said: "Rafa (Benitez, the Liverpool manager) wants Steven to stay and couldn't have made it any clearer.

My idea is if I renew my contract after four years I would like Steve to be the next coach ... or if he wanted the next manager
Rafael Benitez

"We have made it clear since January we wanted to talk to Steven about a new contract.

"For anyone to make an issue of a delay of just a few days makes no sense. When we met on Wednesday, things were fine.

"We have wanted to keep Steven all along. There has never been any suggestion we wanted to sell him.

"Money is not an issue. There are no financial concerns regarding Steven's contract so any suggestion to the contrary is wrong."

Benitez also insisted the club had done everything in their power to try and persuade Gerrard to stay.

"We tried last season three times to talk to Steve about a new deal and he said we need to wait.

"This year we have spoken about trophies and we now have the most important one.

"We have talked about improving the squad and having the best players. Now we have signed Zenden, perhaps Middlesbrough's best player.

"We are signing the best keeper in Spain (Jose Reina), the best winger in Chile (Mark Gonzales) and a young full-back from Seville (Antonio Barragan).

"We are improving the team. With all these things I can assure our fans my idea is if I renew my contract after four years I would like Steve to be the next coach, the next assistant manager, the next chief scout or if he wanted the next manager."

But newspaper reports on Monday claimed the England midfielder had an angry exchange with boss Benitez on the training ground over the weekend.

A Liverpool spokesman earlier told BBC Sport: "We will not be commenting on speculation."

Gerrard underlined his enthusiasm to stay at Anfield in the aftermath of Liverpool's European triumph over AC Milan in May.

He described lifting the trophy as "the best feeling ever" and when questioned about his future added: "How can I think of leaving Liverpool after a night like this?"

Last week Spanish reports claimed that Gerrard had admitted to Benitez his interest in a move to Real Madrid, who are said to be willing to more than double his wages to over 8m a year.

The report in As newspaper also said that Gerrard would not join another Premiership side.

That is unlikely to put off Chelsea, who are also known admirers of Gerrard and were thought to be close to signing him last season.

Gerrard decided to sign a new deal with Liverpool but rumours about his future have persisted throughout the season.

AC Milan may also be interested in Gerrard, while Manchester United boss Sir Alex Ferguson is a big fan of the player.




WATCH AND LISTEN
Report: BBC football correspondent Jonathan Legard


News conference: Liverpool manager Rafael Benitez



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20 Jun 05 |  Liverpool


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