Benitez lays out plans for Reds’ future

JUST 24 hours after signing a new £25million (€16.7m), five-year contract, Rafael Benitez’s new vision for Liverpool is up and running.

The Spaniard, preparing his side for the crunch home game with Aston Villa tomorrow, has already been talking to agents and players about the future.

Given the opportunity to have a far greater say in budget and contract negotiations, Benitez is already stamping his authority on the club.

And it is clear, although he would not reveal any major details, that he has been given assurances over the long-term involvement of the club’s American owners.

He has also made it clear that the Anfield regime will be streamlined and he will be able to plunge into the transfer market.

He said: “I now have even greater determination to win trophies, but when I was talking to the owners about a contract extension I had to be sure that we could continue to compete at the very top level.

“They told me things would improve, they told me they would be supporting me so I felt that we could do it together.

“The possibility was to stay here, to improve the squad and the team, and to work together.

“This was not about power. It was to manage this club like every other manager in England manages their club, to have the contacts with players and agents, and to run the academy.

“Things like that are very common, I was only asking for normal things.

“I made it clear that I do not have any problem working with a chief executive, only that things are done quickly.’’

He added: “I was also asking for some ideas about future ownership. I feel now that my decision has been the best for me, the people around me and the club.

“I have the guarantee that the club will move forward and will improve, in terms of money and improving every department.

“If you want to compete against teams like Manchester United, everybody has to be together and we have to do things quickly. We have to buy cheap and sell expensive.

“We have to do things to improve the commercial department, the marketing department. Everything has to be working very well.

“We will always be behind because of the massive difference in terms of the stadium (compared to Old Trafford) but it is possible to reduce the gap if we do other things properly.”

Although Benitez did not mention outgoing chief executive Rick Parry by name, it is obvious that his eventual departure has paved the way to a new Liverpool in the manager’s eyes.

He said: “The owners know my ideas. If we have signed a new contract we have the same vision about the future.

“I have already had a busy day talking to agents and players. It is crucial for the future.

“But we still must beat Aston Villa, get three points and fight for the title this season.

“When I was thinking of staying, it was because I knew we could improve.

“We must win and win, to be contenders, to give ourselves the options every single season.”

Benitez could have injured trio Xabi Alonso, Alvaro Arbeloa and Yossi Benayoun back to face Villa, a game that has to be won if Liverpool are to build on last weekend’s remarkable victory at Manchester United.

He said: “My aim now is to win titles, but to do that we have to improve at every level.

“We will have to go into the transfer market again to improve the squad but we also have to stay in the top four because of the financial implications.”

Benitez clearly now sees a way for his own ideas to hold sway with owners Tom Hicks and George Gillett.

He said: “I have the same control as I had before with the chance to talk with agents and players about transfers and contracts, and after to then have the chief executive with me.

“I was not asking for more, all the managers in England have the same responsibility. I did not have personal problems with the current chief executive, only that we should do things quickly and work together, and it will be the same in the future.

“I have not talked to the owners about the budget, any money, just the ideas on how to progress and to sign players and extend contracts.

“The owners have given me assurances about their feelings, that they want to win and they want the best for this club.

“We are all in the same boat.’’

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