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Liverpool owners George Gillett and Tom Hicks have pledged to back boss Rafa Benitez in the summer transfer market.

And Gillett has not ruled out a move for former Reds striker Michael Owen, whose future at Newcastle has been the subject of speculation in recent weeks.

“He is a great player but it is down to Rafa’s recommendation, not us,” Gillett said of the England international.

New Magpies boss Sam Allardyce met Owen for the first time this week to explain his plans for the club.

Owen has only just returned to action after spending 10 months on the sidelines following the knee injury he picked up at last summer’s World Cup.

Owen joined Newcastle in a £17m deal from Real Madrid in August 2005, but has managed only 14 appearances to date following knee and metatarsal injuries.

Owen was a prolific striker for Liverpool before his move to Madrid in 2005, scoring 179 goals in 351 appearances.

Gillett and Hicks have given Benitez a blank cheque to help Liverpool compete for the Premiership next season.

“If Rafa said he wanted to buy ‘Snoogy Doogy’ we would back him,” added Gillett.

“Rafa’s feeling is we need more depth because of the rigours of the schedule to be competitive.

“In every sport I participate in, there is a difference between a league season and the play-offs.

“That’s where the genius of the manager is so essential and that’s where Tom and I have to defer to his background and genius.”

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