Liverpool's Premier League title push was given a boost on Friday with the news that club captain Steven Gerrard has agreed a two-year extension to his contract.
The 28-year-old's current deal was due to expire in 2011 but has committed to the club until 2013, with reports suggesting that his weekly wage will increase from £110,000-a-week to £150,000.
Reacting to the news, manager Rafael Benitez, who himself recently agreed a new deal tying him to Anfield until 2014, told the club's website: ''This is fantastic news for the club. Steven has once again shown his commitment and it was an easy deal to agree.
''As soon as we offered him the option he said yes. There were no problems at all. He wants to stay for life.
''This deal sends out another clear message that we are moving forward as a club. To know we have a player of Steven's quality with us for many more years is a great boost for the club and the fans.
''He is clearly a player who inspires those around him and even though he is playing very well at the moment, I still think his best years are ahead of him.''
Gerrard's contract extension was followed later on Friday by news that forward Dirk Kuyt had also agreed a new deal which will tie him to the Merseyside club until at least 2012.
Liverpool are currently second in the Premier League, a point behind Manchester United and could go top on Saturday if they avoid defeat at Fulham, at least until Manchester United play Aston Villa on Sunday.
The Anfield club are chasing their first title for 19 years and if successful would extend their record of English top flight titles to 19, however if United clinch the championship this season they would equal Liverpool's current record of 18 trophies.
Speaking recently, Gerrard said: ''I'm really happy at the club at the moment, in fact I have never been happier at any time throughout my career and I would happily sign for life.
''I am playing in a top team, I am playing with world-class players and I believe that with this manager, going forward, we can be successful.''
Liverpool face Chelsea at Anfield on Wednesday in first leg of their Champions League quarter-final.
Meanwhile on Friday Gerrard pleaded not guilty to a charge of affray at Liverpool Crown Court in relation to a bar brawl last December.
The incident at the Lounge Bar nightclub in Southport occurred after Gerrard's two-goal man-of-the-match performance in a 5-1 win over Newcastle United on December 28th.
Gerrard denied involvement in the incident which resulted in 34-year-old company director Marcus McGee requiring hospital treatment for facial injuries.