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Oct 6, 2009

George Gillett: Blame Rafa Benitez for Liverpool form

George Gillett has told disgruntled Liverpool fans that Rafa Benitez is solely responsible for the club's difficult start to the season and has defended his record of investment as co-owner of the club.

Gillett and his co-owner Tom Hicks remain unpopular figures at Anfield following some PR mistakes, reported internal in-fighting in the past and a perception that they have not provided the funds required to give Liverpool a squad capable of challenging for honours.

Frustration has only grown amongst supporters after a start to the season that has seen Liverpool lose three of their opening eight games in the Premier League, with their most recent defeat coming on Sunday with a 2-0 loss at Chelsea's Stamford Bridge.

But Gillett claims both he and Hicks have injected sizeable funds into the club and that if performances are not of the required standard then Benitez and his methods must be placed under scrutiny.

"We have invested more money than our competitors, in keeping with the history of the club," the Guardian quotes Gillett as telling a representative of the fans' group Spirit of Shankly last week. "In the last 18 months, we have invested £128m on top of what has come in.

"That means it should be getting better. Now if it's not getting better, it's not Gillett and Hicks; it's the manager; it's the scouting. You have to make sure you balance out your analysis. There was plenty of money, so if you have any complaints, take a look at the ins and outs."

Repeating a claim made recently, Gillett also detailed how Liverpool are "in an extraordinarily good financial position. Far better than Manchester United, Chelsea or Arsenal."

Plans for a new stadium have been grounded due to the current economic climate but Gillett and Hicks remain committed to resurrecting the project when conditions improve.

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