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Page last updated at 18:41 GMT, Monday, 25 January 2010

Rafael Benitez plays down Kenwyne Jones dispute

Sunderland striker Kenwyne Jones
Liverpool and Birmingham have been linked with Jones

Liverpool manager Rafael Benitez has distanced himself from the furore surrounding the club's attempts to prise Kenwyne Jones from Sunderland.

Black Cats boss Steve Bruce said Liverpool had been "disrespectful" in their efforts to sign the striker.

But Benitez claims he has played no part in the negotiations.

"I was not involved in this," said Benitez. "Christian Purslow (managing director) was talking with Niall Quinn. They are managing the situation."

Liverpool have been looking to improve their goalscoring options following injuries to Fernando Torres, Steven Gerrard and Yossi Benayoun.

Reports said Benitez was keen to recruit Jones on loan until the end of the season, possibly as a swap for out-of-favour Reds forward Ryan Babel.

On Friday, Bruce said Liverpool had "no chance" of luring the Trinidad & Tobago forward, describing the stories as a "load of rubbish."

But in his press briefing on Monday, Benitez was adamant the clubs had been talking.

606: DEBATE
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"I prefer not to talk too much because we will create a debate so Christian and Niall will continue to talk if they need to talk.

"They were in contact but I don't know what the situation is now."

Meanwhile, Benitez has declined to comment on reports linking the club with a move for Standard Liege striker Milan Jovanovic.

"When they talk about us the radar is very big with 100 players all around the world," he said.

"They are named but we don't talk about players. All I can tell you is he (Jovanovic) is a good player."

Although he was reluctant to identify transfer targets, Benitez did confirm that goalkeeper Jose Reina is to be offered a new contract.

The Spanish stopper has been in supreme form this season and is set to be rewarded with a five-year deal.

"We have had a conversation with his agent and we know his idea, he knows our idea, and conversations will continue," said the Reds boss.

"I think it will be easy to finalise and have an agreement."

Benitez has also confirmed he is considering sending out reserve team midfielder Damien Plessis on loan.

"Plessis is a young player who isn't playing games," said the Reds boss.

"We were considering a loan but we're talking to the player and his agent.

"We had an Italian team asking about him and we'll see if we can find a solution that is best for him and for us."



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see also
Jones exit talk nonsense - Bruce
22 Jan 10 |  Liverpool
'Stable' Sunderland pleases Jones
16 Jul 09 |  Sunderland
Benitez & Babel in tweet fall-out
15 Jan 10 |  Liverpool
Jones signs new Sunderland deal
27 Jan 09 |  Sunderland
Fit-again Gerrard may face Wolves
25 Jan 10 |  Liverpool
Reina pens new Liverpool contract
09 Apr 10 |  Liverpool
Reina pens new Liverpool contract
07 Jun 07 |  Liverpool
Monday's gossip column
25 Jan 10 |  Gossip


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