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By ESPN Staff

Hicks accuses Benitez of petulant approach

Liverpool owner Tom Hicks has accused Anfield manager Rafael Benitez of behaving petulantly in the recent dispute over transfer policy.

The American also fears the players were suffering from an inferiority complex in the recent defeat to Manchester United.

The comments, in an interview with American magazine Sports Illustrated, risk reviving the tension between Benitez and Hicks and his co-owner George Gillett.

Hicks, 61, revisited the row over transfers, which saw Benitez publicly accuse the American duo of failing to understand the European transfer market.

'We wanted to see what we could do with the players we had already bought,' said Hicks. 'We just wanted to see if the team was going to gel. Then he (Benitez) went to a press conference and kind of pouted and answered in the same way 20 times: 'I'm focusing on my team.'

'The media made up everything from that point forward. They made up that we were going to fire him, that I told him to shut up, that there was a battle between Benitez and the Americans. It's really funny to watch.'

Hicks was dismayed at the players' attitude against United at Anfield when a 1-0 defeat left Liverpool way off the pace in the Premier League title race.

He said: 'Our team played like they mentally didn't think they were good enough to win. They played tight.'