Rafael Benitez has called on the Liverpool owners, Tom Hicks and George Gillett, to settle outstanding contractual issues that threaten to undermine his club’s pursuit of the Premier League title.
Dirk Kuyt, Daniel Agger and the Liverpool manager himself have only 18 months remaining on their current contracts and the Spaniard is concerned that no progress is being made.
Hicks and Gillett have yet to approach Benítez with a new contract offer 10 months after Hicks first revealed his intention to extend the Spaniard’s existing deal. Similarly, Kuyt, Liverpool’s a key figure for Liverpool this season, has yet to receive a new offer from the club.
“Agger is very close and he is talking with the club,” Benítez said yesterday, although the Danish defender and reported target for Real Madrid is entitled to buy-out the remainder of his existing Liverpool contract in January.
“There is no news yet with Kuyt but he is another player that I would like to get done as soon as possible.
“They have to be done before the new year. In each team you need people with quality, that work hard and with a good character. I want to do it as soon as possible because it is better for them and better for the club.”
Agger has only recently recaptured his place in the Liverpool defence following his recovery from a series of injuries. By contrast, Kuyt has been almost ever-present since his £9m arrival from Feyenoord in August 2006 and yesterday declared he wanted to stay at Liverpool.
“My intention is to stay here for as long as possible. I am really happy but so far there has been no talk of a contract,” said the Dutch striker.
“I am feeling really well at the moment. I am playing in a different position on the right but I am enjoying it. As everyone knows,
“I had a really hard period at the beginning of last season with the loss of my dad and it is more difficult when you are in a different country. But lots of people helped me – my family, my friends and my team-mates and the people here at Liverpool.
“But now I am glad I have left that spell behind and I am looking to the future. I am now enjoying my football and am being involved in important moments and helping set up important goals. I have also scored some important goals myself and I want to keep on doing that.”