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Rafa keen for Agger and Kuyt to ink new deals

Liverpool manager Rafael Benitez has hinted at his frustration that talks over a new long-term deal for Dirk Kuyt have yet to bear fruit.

Benitez revealed that negotiations over a new contract with Danish central defender Daniel Agger are at an advanced stage, but is concerned that there has been little progress with Kuyt.

''Agger is very close and he is talking with the club,'' Benitez said. ''There is no news yet with Kuyt but he is another player that I would like to get done as soon as possible. They have to be done before the new year.

''In each team you need people with quality, that work hard and with a good character. I want to do it as soon as possible because it is better for them and better for the club.''

Many will interpret Benitez's frustration over a lack of progress with Kuyt as a slight against the Anfield hierarchy with whom he has a fractious relationship.

Both Danish central defender Agger and Dutch striker Kuyt have just 18 months left on their existing deals, as does Benitez's own contract.

Kuyt is in a strong position ahead of any contract talks having been in fine form so far this season and is the club's top scorer with six goals.

Meanwhile, Liverpool co-owner George Gillett has admitted he has been embarrassed by the club's financial difficulties.

Gillett took over at Anfield last year amid much fanfare alongside fellow American Tom Hicks, and the pair made the building of a new stadium in Stanley Park a top priority.

However, after months of speculation over their ability to fund the project, it was recently shelved until the current financial crisis eases.

''You feel a responsibility and an embarrassment on occasions when you haven't provided all you might have,'' Gillett told The Independent. ''There's a level of embarrassment and you want to correct it quickly.''

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