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 Posted by ESPN Staff
Apr, 14, 2008

Angry Rafa blasts boardroom skullduggery

Rafael Benitez has held trans-Atlantic discussions with Liverpool co-owners Tom Hicks and George Gillett over his future at Anfield. The Liverpool boss left Anfield after his side's 3-1 win over Blackburn to return to his Cheshire home for an exchange of e-mails with the American duo, after it was revealed that chief executive Rick Parry was party to meetings they had late last year with Jurgen Klinsmann. The former Germany manager was being lined up as a possible replacement for Benitez at the time that his relationship with the owners was at an all-time low. But Benitez claims he only discovered yesterday from media reports that Parry had attended meetings in the US with Klinsmann and his advisors `on instruction' from the club's owners. The Spaniard was clearly furious after the Blackburn victory having discovered who was involved in what he believed were meetings behind his back. But he now believes those meetings took place in the full knowledge of Parry, who, he claims, did not inform him of his involvement. Benitez insisted that he would be discussing the situation with his agent, aware that Valencia, Inter Milan, Barcelona and Real Madrid are interested in his services. The answers he receives from the owners will dictate his position at the end of the season, but he will not walk away ahead of the Champions League semi-finals with Chelsea and is intent on winning the trophy for the second time for the Reds. But the manager's whole future at the club is now in doubt as further revelations over exactly who was party to the meetings with the German and his advisors. Benitez, who was delighted with a performance that saw Steven Gerrard, Fernando Torres and Andriy Voronin score the goals to beat Rovers, said: 'I am surprised at things I have read, I need some clarification about a meeting that took place involving a lot of people that I did now know about. 'I need to ask questions and I want some answers. I want to clarify things. I am really calm, but I want answers.' Roque Santa Cruz replied in injury-time for Rovers, but Liverpool further cemented their grip on fourth spot to take a five-point lead over Everton and a positive goal difference of 12 that, in effect, is worth another point with just four games left. But Benitez had his pleasure at the result soured by yet more boardroom problems. He added: 'What concerned me was the people who were in the meeting, that was a surprise. 'We [the coaching staff and the players] are professionals and we know we must be focused on football, and we will try to do this. 'It is not affecting the players. They are winning and they know we must finish in the top four and progress in the Champions League. We must stay focused on football.'

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