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MLS first-half overachievers, underachievers

MLS All-Star Game
By ESPN Staff

Hicks: Rafa row 'a big misunderstanding'

Liverpool co-chairman Tom Hicks has dismissed the recent public fall-out with manager Rafael Benitez as 'a big misunderstanding blown out of all proportion' and insisted he had no intention of selling his share of the club.

Hicks, who jointly owns the Anfield side with fellow American George Gillett, has been drawn into a high-profile exchange of forthright views with Benitez over the last week.

It appeared to centre around the manager's desire to make plans for next month's transfer window and the Americans' perceived lack of understanding of his aims.

There was even the suggestion Hicks was looking to sell up after the row but he claims nothing could be further from the truth.

'I just want to clear up; I am not selling any of my shares to anybody,' said Hicks.

'I have no idea why anyone would think that. It was just rubbish.'

On the disagreement with Benitez he said: 'It's been a big misunderstanding blown very much out of proportion. George and I are happy to see that it has settled back down.

'We've a big game on Sunday against Bolton, a big game against Marseille (in the Champions League on Tuesday week) and a big game with our neighbours to the east (Manchester United on December 16) and the main thing is the team is playing better.'

Hicks also stressed his relationship with Gillett was as strong as ever despite rumours to the contrary.

'George and I have never been closer. We both were very disappointed and confused as to where that inaccurate information came from,' he said.

'Owning Liverpool has been great, we're still enjoying it.'

Hicks also responded to criticism that the owners spend too much time in their homeland and do not concentrate on matters at Anfield, stressing Gillett's son Foster - a director at the club - looks after their interests.

'I guess we are absentee owners - there's no question about it,' the Dallas-based millionaire told the club's website,

'But Foster returned to Liverpool last week. He's our day-to-day person to help facilitate communication - and we come as often as we can.'