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By ESPN Staff

Benayoun bemoans bit-part role at Anfield

Liverpool midfielder Yossi Benayoun has warned boss Rafael Benitez that his patience is starting to wear thin after finding himself reduced to a supporting role at Anfield.

The Israel international has started just four of Liverpool's 13 Premier League matches to date this season, with seven further appearances coming from the bench.

The 28-year-old midfielder, who made his name at Maccabi Haifa and Spanish outfit Racing Santander before moving to England with West Ham in 2005, fears his playing time will remain restricted while Liverpool continue to perform well at the league's summit.

And Benayoun has revealed he is considering a move to the continent - with a return to Spain one of his likely destinations along with France, Italy and Russia.

''If the situation remains the same over the next few months, and I'm not getting more time in the middle, I will not want to continue as a Liverpool player,'' Benayoun told Israel's Channel Five TV. ''The fact that I have spent so much time on the bench, while there has been a winning formula on the pitch, tells you everything.''

Benayoun has made 41 Premier League appearances since his £5million arrival from the Hammers in the summer of 2007, and resisted a move away from Anfield in the summer despite reported interest from the likes of Roma and Ajax.

''I hope it changes for me, because I want to stay and prove myself, but it won't be easy,'' he continued. ''I know I'm at one of the biggest clubs in the world, and that there are many good players like Ryan Babel and Jermaine Pennant who sometimes aren't even in the squad, but it's not much fun sitting on the bench all the time.''

He added: ''I always wanted to prove myself good enough for Liverpool, and I thought I did well last season to contribute so many goals and assists. But there seems to be more competition for places this time, and if I continue to be on the sidelines, I would not want to stay, even though it is Liverpool.

''Maybe I will have to accept that and start learning another language, such as Italian or French or even Russian.''

Meanwhile, council leaders have hit out at Liverpool's owners over the club's bid to register the Liver bird as a trademark.

The Anfield club have applied to the UK Intellectual Property Office to trademark the iconic image for the sum of £450.

The club hope the move will stem the tide of counterfeit Liverpool merchandise bearing the famous Liver bird emblem.

However, the application has not been welcomed by Liverpool city council, who last week accused the club of attempting to ''steal'' the city's crest.

''This is outrageous,'' said deputy council leader Flo Clucas in quotes reported by the Guardian.

''The Liver bird belongs to all the people of Liverpool and not one company or organisation. It cannot be bought and sold for private profit. This is a symbol of the city and is used not only by the council but also by hundreds of organisations, charities, voluntary groups and sports clubs.''

Clucas revealed last week that the council are taking legal advice over the trademark application.

The club claim they are only attempting to trademark the version which appears on their jerseys, and are not seeking to encroach on the rights of the city council or any other major city organisations to use the Liver bird image.


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