Liverpool co-owners Tom Hicks and George Gillett have given their backing to Rafael Benitez, after the surprise admission they had discussed the manager’s position with Jurgen Klinsmann.
Benitez will be shhocked by the revelation that the former Germany coach was approached about the possibility of becoming the club’s next manager.
Hicks claims the talks were “an insurance policy” in case Benitez opted to leave the club, but the tell the press about the move for Klinsmann apppear calculated to undermine the Spaniard’s position at the club.
Klinsmann has since agreed to take charge of Bayern Munich – and Hicks insists Benitez has the owners’ backing going.
“After George and I had our long and productive meeting with Rafa following the Manchester United match, we put all of our issues behind us and received Rafa’s commitment that he wanted to stay with Liverpool,” he told the Liverpool Echo.
“We never reached agreement on an option with Jurgen, and we are both pleased for him that he has a great opportunity to return to Germany and coach a great club team. Rafa has both of our support, and our communication has greatly improved.
“We attempted to negotiate an option as an insurance policy to have him [Klinsmann] become manager if Rafael left for Real Madrid or other clubs that were rumored in the press – or in case our communication spiraled out of control for some reason,” he said.
Despite the backing of the owners, winning the FA Cup apppears to be the minimum requirement for Benitez this season.
Liverpool face League One Luton in a replay at Anfield on Tuesday – and Benitez knows defeat is not an option.
“From our point of view, we want to win the FA Cup again,” he said. “It is a fantastic competition, and we will put out our strongest team and hope to progress to the next round. We still want to win the title, but also we want to win the FA Cup as well.
“I know it will be a different Luton side. They have lost players now, so we know it will be more difficult for them – but they will still try their hardest to win.”