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May 18, 2009

Benitez in Fergie title snub

Liverpool manager Rafael Benitez has refused to end his on-going row with rival Sir Alex Ferguson despite Manchester United ending the clubs' on-pitch battle by retaining the Premier League title this weekend.

The Red Devils secured their third successive championship on Saturday to move level with the Anfield outfit's all-time English record of 18 titles and, although Benitez offered reluctant congratulations to the team as a whole, he pointedly refused to acknowledge Ferguson.

Benitez said: "I will say congratulations to Manchester United. They have done well, but I do not want to say too much. I prefer just to say well done to the club, a big club, a good club."

Benitez and Ferguson have rarely seen eye-to-eye this season, with the Liverpool boss launching an astonishing pre-meditated attack earlier in the season when he presented an A4 sheet of "facts" criticising United and their manager.

Ferguson responded by accusing Benitez of "arrogance" and "contempt" in his dealings with fellow managers and the duo have been sniping at each other all season.

Benitez added: "Normally you have to be polite and respect the other manager. During the season we have seen a lot of things that I didn't like, so that's it.

"I say congratulations to United because they have won. And that's it."

Liverpool assured themselves of second place with a 2-0 win over West Bromwich Albion on Sunday and Benitez feels he has laid down a marker by pushing United this season.

But the Reds boss could not resist a further dig at Ferguson when asked to define what have been the deciding factors in the title race.

"They have had better quality on the bench. When they played us they had [Paul] Scholes, [Ryan] Giggs and [Dimitar] Berbatov on the bench. I am really pleased that we have got 83 points with the squad we have.

"When you are prepared to pay £20m or £30m for players it is easier to win the title," he added.

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