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Page last updated at 21:35 GMT, Saturday, 16 August 2008 22:35 UK

Barry transfer saga riles Benitez

Rafael Benitez
Benitez is keen to recruit Barry to bolster Liverpool's midfield

Liverpool boss Rafael Benitez has pointedly criticised the club's board for failing to secure midfielder Gareth Barry's transfer from Aston Villa.

Benitez first expressed an interest in the midfielder, 27, in April, but four months on he remains a Villa player.

And, speaking after the Reds' 1-0 win over Sunderland, he said: "Co-owner Tom Hicks said we do have the money.

"We have to be quicker. If the manager has an idea and it is not a question of money... it has to be his decision."

Liverpool released a statement last week confirming that, despite being identified by Benitez as a transfer target, the club's hierarchy were unwilling to match Villa's reported 18m valuation.

The statement added that "this is not about questioning the manager's judgement or the ability of a particular player" - but the issue has rankled Benitez, who told the media on Friday to ask chief executive Rick Parry about the Barry negotiations.

I have the support of at least one of the owners

Rafael Benitez
And Benitez did not take long to return to the Barry transfer saga following Liverpool's win at the Stadium of Light.

"We have sold players for more than 20m in the summer, and Hicks told me 'if you sell players you can buy with that too'," he said."

"I have the support of at least one of the owners. I sent emails to all of them, but he (Hicks) was clear we had the money.

"It is not something I can explain. You have to analyse it - but to me it is clear: they were supporting me if we had money, and we do have money."

Last season Benitez had a very public falling out with owners Tom Hicks, George Gillett and his latest comments hint at frustration over the lines of communication between Parry and the Americans.

Hicks and Gillett publicly fell out earlier this year over the latter's desire to sell the club to Dubai International Capital, while Hicks called for Parry to resign in April during the ongoing row.

But, despite Hicks apparently supporting the purchase over Gillett and Parry, Benitez insists he is "100%" happy to stay on as manager of the club, contrary to media reports.

"I don't read headlines on the day of the game, but my commitment is 100% - with the fans, with the players and with the club in general," he said.

"I say 100 times my family is happy here - we want to win trophies at this club because it is a massive club.

"If we have problems because we are not doing things which, in my opinion as a manager we could do, I will work as hard as I can for the club."

Any potential Barry transfer has been complicated by his appearance in Villa's Uefa Cup tie against FH Hafnarfjordur on Thursday, which rules him out of playing in the Champions League group stages.

see also
Sunderland 0-1 Liverpool
16 Aug 08 |  Premier League
Benitez drops strong Barry hint
08 Aug 08 |  Aston Villa
Liverpool deny rift about Barry
10 Aug 08 |  Liverpool
Villa facing decision over Barry
13 Aug 08 |  Aston Villa
Barry Uefa Cup role boosts Villa
14 Aug 08 |  Aston Villa
Gerrard wants Barry at Liverpool
30 May 08 |  Liverpool
Barry 'undervalued' by Liverpool
09 May 08 |  Aston Villa

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