Liverpool co-owner Tom Hicks has heaped further pressure on Rafa Benitez by confirming that the club held talks with Jurgen Klinsmann about replacing the Spaniard as manager.
Benitez has come under intense pressure this season with the club faltering in the Premier League title race and struggling to reach the knockout stages of the Champions League.
“We attempted to negotiate an option,” Hicks told the Liverpool Echo.
“It was as an insurance policy, to have him become manager if Rafa left for Real Madrid or other rumoured clubs.”
Hicks added: “Or in case our communication spiralled out of control for some reason.”
Klinsmann has subsequently agreed to become the next coach at Bayern Munich and he will take over the German club at the end of this season.
The confirmation of talks between Klinsmann and his bosses will undermine Benitez, who has publicly stated his desire to remain in charge at Anfield.
Benitez criticised the Hicks and fellow Liverpool owner George Gillett about their transfer policy and the Spaniard’s remarks angered both owners and put his position in jeopardy.
Liverpool are 12 points behind leaders Manchester United and Arsenal in the Premier League, and although Benitez insists they can still mount a credible title challenge, his immediate concern will be securing a guaranteed Champions League spot.