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Page last updated at 12:47 GMT, Saturday, 12 April 2008 13:47 UK

Benitez urges his squad to focus

Rafael Benitez
Benitez is keeping a low profile over the club's boardroom battle

Liverpool manager Rafael Benitez has urged his players to forget the boardroom wrangles for control of the club and just concentrate on football.

The Spaniard was reacting after co-owner Tom Hicks this week demanded that chief executive Rick Parry resign.

Benitez called off his news conference ahead of Sunday's clash with Blackburn because of the ongoing power struggles.

But he told Liverpoolfc TV: "I say to the players and myself, we just need to be focused on football."

A rift is thought to have been opened after Hicks used Benitez's alleged dissatisfaction with Parry's performance in transfer dealings to attack the chief executive.

606: DEBATE
Agger

But Benitez has wisely maintained a public silence over the club's off-field problems in recent months and instead concentrated on his team's on-field performances.

He added: "We have an important game on Sunday and we have to concentrate on that."

However, former Liverpool chairman David Moores, who sold out to the warring American co-owners, says the power struggle at Anfield is turning the club into a laughing stock.

"It's heartbreaking. I'm almost lost for words about the damage that's being done to the club at the present time," Moores told the Liverpool Echo.

"As a fan, and as someone who loves the club, it is totally unacceptable to see this being played out in the public arena.

"When things are played out like they are at present it virtually makes the club a laughing stock."

He added: "This is most certainly not what the club is about. In fact, I can't ever remember, even going back to when I was a supporter as a kid, stuff being played out in public like we have seen in the last six months.

"It is embarrassing and it is not an acceptable way of doing things. I've never known anything like it and I'm just absolutely shell-shocked."

I'm almost lost for words about the damage that's being done to the club at the present time

David Moores

Meanwhile, Benitez recognises that Blackburn have been a thorn in Liverpool's side in recent seasons, and is expecting a physical battle from Mark Hughes' side.

"They are a tough team to play against because physically they are aggressive, they are well organised and it has been difficult against them in the past, but maybe this time it will be different.

"They also have players with quality. We need to be aware of their physical approach and also of their quality on the pitch."

Benitez admitted he wants the battle for fourth placed tied up as quickly as possible.

He said: "That's what we've been telling the players. We want to win every game now if it is possible, and then see what happens with Everton.

"We want to make sure we can finish in the top four and then think about the semi-final."


see also
Parry hits back at Anfield owner
11 Apr 08 |  Liverpool
Hicks calls for Parry resignation
10 Apr 08 |  Liverpool
Parry calls for Reds resolution
30 Mar 08 |  Liverpool
DIC to offer Hicks share of power
08 Mar 08 |  Liverpool
Hicks plots total control of Reds
04 Mar 08 |  Liverpool
Hicks ready to block Gillett sale
28 Feb 08 |  Liverpool
Hicks holds talks over Liverpool
27 Feb 08 |  Liverpool
Liverpool owners deny sale claims
17 Jan 08 |  Liverpool


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