New owner Hicks wants Liverpool to dominate
Liverpool co-owner Tom Hicks has vowed to help Rafael Benitez make the Reds a 'dominant team' again - but will not be spending money on the scale of Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich.
Hicks and his investment partner George Gillett plan to hold talks with Benitez after the game against Arsenal on March 31 about the long-term future of the club.
Benitez felt moved to dismiss speculation that he would return to Real Madrid as manager in the summer, while Hicks also stressed that the Spaniard and chief executive Rick Parry were vital to the club's development.
Liverpool are currently fourth in the Barclays Premiership, 21 points behind leaders Manchester United and Hicks knows money will need to be made available to help trim that gap, though he ruled out a repeat of the transfer spree Chelsea embarked upon following Abramovich's buy-out of Chelsea in July 2003.
'I've been in the business for 13 years and I know that doesn't work,' the Texas Rangers and Dallas Stars owner told Radio 5 Live.
'Our job as owners is to create the right balance of generating as much revenue as the fans want to pay, the sponsors want to pay, the media companies want to pay and giving as much of it to the players as you have to to have a business that can go forward as a business.
'The key is to have a smart manager like Rafa who will take a long-term view of how we can get better. I know enough from talking to him now that he doesn't want to do what you just described, he wants to build for the long term.
'I'm not saying we won't spend for transfers, that may be what we do. But it's got to be in the context of a plan that makes Liverpool competitive every year for a long time.
'We have budgeted a big number, I'm not going to tell you what it is because it's part of Rafa's plan, but the new stadium is very important to that because with the higher revenues Liverpool have we will be able to compete with anybody.
'We're very fortunate in that George and I feel that Rick Parry is the perfect guy to be the chief executive of Liverpool, and certainly everything we have seen of Rafa Benitez suggests he is a bright young manager as well.'
Benitez has been linked yet again with Madrid at a time when Fabio Capello is under increasing pressure at the club and it was suggested earlier this week that he had been put right at the top of their wanted list.
But Benitez today told the club's website: 'I think it's important the fans know I am completely committed to Liverpool and I'm going nowhere.
'I know there's been a lot of speculation in the Spanish media linking me with Real Madrid.
'Any manager would be honoured to be associated with such a famous club, especially as Madrid is my home city and also my former club.
'However, I want to make it clear I am very happy at Anfield and very happy in England and I'm genuinely excited by what the future holds for Liverpool.'
Benitez has made it clear that he does not only want to discuss his transfer budget for the summer, although that has been a worry for him as he starts his planning to compete for the very best stars in Europe.
But there was a clear feeling from the club's manager that the whole running of the club was uppermost in his mind.
Benitez is believed to want to see the youth set-up and training facilities revamped as well as the commercial and marketing side of the club, something that is lagging behind the likes of Manchester United, Chelsea and Real Madrid.