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Liverpool boss Rafael Benitez set for crucial talks

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Expectations for season too high - Benitez

Liverpool boss Rafael Benitez will meet with club chairman Martin Broughton this week amid speculation over the Spaniard's position at Anfield.

Benitez, 50, has four years remaining on his contract and has denied reports linking him with Juventus.

"I prefer to talk about football. Managers cannot be talking about the speculation all the time," he said.

Midfielder Yossi Benayoun has added to the uncertainty around the club by admitting he is unsure of his future.

Sunday's 2-0 loss at home to Chelsea ended the Reds' hopes of a top-four finish and ensured next season will be their first without Champions League football since 2002/03.

The Merseysiders' final chance of silverware was dashed by Thursday's Europa League semi-final defeat by Atletico Madrid - a result that further increased the pressure on Benitez.

606: DEBATE
Bleeding Red

A turbulent season has also seen a new chairman arrive, with British Airways boss Broughton appointed by owners George Gillett and Tom Hicks to oversee the sale of the club.

However, Benitez, who has been publicly backed by the new chairman, said: "I have four years of a contract so we will see.

"I was talking about the speculation during the last two or three weeks and I cannot be talking about it all the time.

"I have showed my commitment to the club and the fans in the past. I have four years of contract remaining and we have to keep working as hard as we can. We will try to do our best until the last day. We don't know when the last day is."

As far as I am concerned it is speculation because I am at Fulham

Fulham boss Roy Hodgson on being linked with the Liverpool job

Israel playmaker Benayoun revealed that, despite signing a two-year contract extension last summer, he may be one of those heading out of the club this summer.

"We do not know what changes there will be in the players, the staff so I think it is too early to speak," the 29-year-old said.

"I do not know personally even if I will be here or I will not be here.

"A lot of things can happen, so we have to wait and see."

Benayoun's uncertainty will be a further cause for concern for Benitez, who speaking in his post-match press conference seemed to suggest the blame for the problems Liverpool have experienced stem from Hicks and Gillett's failure to invest heavily in the squad.

"Always in the past two years the manager here has been taking responsibility for everything," he added.

"The reality is that if you compare with other teams in terms of money, power and the option you have in the market, you can analyse carefully and then you have answers.

"The fans are very clever, they know what is going on. It is very clear that things are like this now and still we have to carry on going forward.

"We will prepare for the next game and then start thinking about things for the future.

"The fans want to know but I want to know what is going on next week against Hull."

Benitez rejected any suggestion that the lacklustre post-match lap around Anfield was his farewell to the supporters.

"We have to say thank you to our fans, as always, because they have been very good," he added.

Hodgson grateful for managers' praise

Meanwhile, Fulham boss Roy Hodgson, who has been mentioned as a potential successor for Benitez after guiding the Cottagers to the Europa League final, dismissed speculation linking him with the Anfield hotseat.

Speaking after Fulham beat West Ham 3-2 on Sunday, Hodgson said: "I have got a contract here at Fulham. I am happy with the job I am doing.

"My name is sufficiently strong at the moment to be linked with other jobs and, of course, that is flattering and it is nice to hear. But as far as I am concerned it is speculation because I am at Fulham.

"We all prefer praise to criticism and love to hatred. It would be ludicrous to suggest I am not enjoying people saying and writing nice things about me and the team.

"But I am trying to keep a level head and keep things in perspective."



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see also
Liverpool 0-2 Chelsea
02 May 10 |  Premier League
Sunday football as it happened
02 May 10 |  Football
Sunday's football photos
02 May 10 |  Premier League
Liverpool 'must improve academy'
30 Apr 10 |  Liverpool
Benitez wants overhaul at Anfield
29 Apr 10 |  Europe
Liverpool 2-1 Atletico (agg 2-2)
29 Apr 10 |  Europe
Benitez agent denies Juve reports
27 Apr 10 |  Liverpool
New Reds chief backs boss Benitez
16 Apr 10 |  Liverpool
Benitez dismisses Juventus deal
31 Jan 10 |  Liverpool
Liverpool rule out Benayoun exit
27 Jan 10 |  Liverpool



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