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By ESPN Staff

Benitez hits out at board over Barry saga

Rafael Benitez has distanced himself from claims that he has been close to resigning as Liverpool manager - and once again made it clear to his club's power brokers why Gareth Barry was his principal summer transfer target. The Spaniard's interest in the Aston Villa midfielder has been this close season's longest-running transfer saga, and one which some reports suggest brought Benitez to the brink of leaving Anfield. But having watched his side record a fortunate 1-0 win over Sunderland in their Barclay's Premier League opener at the Stadium of Light, with a trademark Fernando Torres strike the difference, he reiterated his complete commitment to the Reds. He said: 'I don't read headlines on the day of the game, but my commitment is 100% - with the fans, with the players and with the club in general. I say 100 times my family is happy here - we want to win trophies at this club because it is a massive club. 'If we have problems because we are not doing things which, in my opinion as a manager we could do, I will work as hard as I can for the club.' While Benitez refused to overtly name Barry as the source of the recent discontent at the club, he was as clear as he could be that he wants the versatile England international to join his squad sooner rather than later. 'I will not talk about any player - but in April I was talking about this (behind the scenes),' he recalled. 'We tried to do things in confidentiality, but sometimes you cannot and you need to explain before the end of the transfer window. If the manager has an idea and it is not a question of money, then we have to make the right decisions in terms of whom we bring in. That has to be the decision of the manager.' The Spaniard was also quick to emphasise the need for greater speed in his club's dealings. Barry has already played for Villa in the UEFA Cup - meaning he would be ineligible for the Champions League group stages - a situation Benitez is clearly unhappy about. 'We have to be quicker,' he said. 'I thought this four years ago and I think it now. If you are quicker it is easier to sign the target you have.' Benitez also confirmed he has been given the green light by co-owner Tom Hicks over the availability of funds - but his refusal to name George Gillett or chief executive Rick Parry may only fuel talk of a deep rift between the club's major players. 'I was in contact with Tom Hicks, and he told me we had the money. We have sold players for more than £20million in the summer, and he told me 'if you sell players you can buy with that too'. 'I have the support of at least one of the owners. I sent emails to all of them, but he [Hicks] was clear we had the money. 'It is not something that I can explain. You have to analyse it - but to me it is clear: they were supporting me if we had money, and we do have money.'


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