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Is a title challenge possible for Man Utd?

Manchester United
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Liverpool chief executive Parry to leave club

Liverpool's chief executive Rick Parry is to leave at the end of the season.

Manager Rafael Benitez has been at loggerheads with Parry for some time and has been determined to take greater control of the club through his contract negotiations. He now appears to have got his way.

Liverpool Co-Chairman Tom Hicks told the club's official website: "Rick's commitment to Liverpool Football Club is epitomised by his desire to ensure that this transitional period is managed efficiently and we are grateful to him for his help. He will always remain a friend of the football club."

Fellow Co-Chairman George Gillett added: "I would like to thank Rick for his significant service to the club and the assistance he has given us since we joined Liverpool. He has been integral to the club's success over the past decade and leaves with our best wishes for the future."

Rick Parry said: "I have had 12 very exciting years at Liverpool and am extremely proud of what has been achieved by the club over that period. The victory in Madrid was a wonderful reminder of the many high points we have experienced and adds to the moments that make Liverpool and its magnificent fans so special.

"It has been a privilege to serve the club and as a lifelong supporter I wish the owners, Rafa, the players and the wonderful staff all the very best for the future. I will be leaving at the end of the season knowing that the club remains strong and with a set of supporters who deserve success in all that Liverpool does."

Parry was a central figure in the rows at Anfield, aligned with Gillett while co-owner Hicks fell on the side of Benitez, but it now seems the Americans have finally found a moment of unity to remove the CEO.

It could be seen as an indication that one of the final hurdles to Benitez's long-running contract saga has been removed.

Parry was in charge of transfers at the Merseyside club with the Spanish boss eager to take full control of that area. With Parry now set to leave the barrier has been removed.

Benitez now wants off-field politics to take a back seat.

He said: "We have three months now of very, very important games so we must concentrate on that. We must be positive, work together and do what is best for the club.

"Our relationship has been good, professional. In terms of the personal relationship it has been good, because we both want the best for the club.

"I do not see the situation as a power battle. The owners have decided to do this, now we both have to work together. I am sure that Rick, myself and the owners will do this until the end of the season.

"We all have to work together with important games coming. My personal relationship with him is not bad, and the professional relationship between us and the discussions we have are between us.

"Clearly we want to work together, we want to win and we want to do well in the title race and in the Champions League.

"Those things are my main concern. I am sure we can work together to improve our chances and to win.

"I have always been talking about football operations, although people keep talking about power battles, but it is not about power.

"It is about the normal things that are football issues and the normal things that a manager does in a club.''

Regarding his own future and next contract, Benitez said: "We will have new talks maybe next week. We will see whether we can progress, it is not about who is there or not at the moment, it is about the future.

"It is important to finalise my contract, but we have been working for months on this, so let's see where we go from here.''

Benitez added of Parry: "We have to work together because he stays here until the end of the season, and after that I wish him all the best.

"As for my new contract, I have been talking about the need for the owners and my advisors to talk, and they are still to talk.''

He explained: "I do not think what has happened will affect those talks. We all know we want the best for the club, everybody.

"So we will try to work together, and to win games and be successful.''

Commercial director Ian Ayre and finance director Steve Nash are thought to be in the running to replace Parry.

The very first chief executive of the Premier League, Parry joined Liverpool in 1998 and was ironically the man charged with finding new investment which resulted in Hicks and Gillett buying the club. He was handed a £500,000 bonus when the deal was sealed but has failed to impress the new owners or Benitez.

This could now be an indication that Hicks is now the dominant force in the boardroom with Gillett's man out of the door.

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