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By ESPN Staff

Beardsley urges Liverpool to stick with Benitez

Former Anfield star Peter Beardsley believes Liverpool should stick by under-pressure manager Rafael Benitez.

And he insists the Spanish boss, who has signed more than 100 players in his five years on Merseyside, is the best man for the job even if Liverpool do not finish in the top four at the end of the season.

Beardsley puts most of Liverpool's woes this season down to injuries to their most influential players, Fernando Torres and Steven Gerrard.

Beardsley said: "He's (Benitez) signed a lot of players but look at most teams in the world. If they lost their stars then they would struggle. If you lost Rooney out of Manchester United's team they would struggle.

"The criticism is a bit over the top. I would definitely stick with him. What have they got to lose? It's only going to be the same players I would imagine for whoever takes over anyway. I would give him to the summer definitely and beyond then because he has done a brilliant job at Liverpool.

"They were really close last season to winning the league. When you look at the Premier League as a whole this season most of the top teams have lost three, four or five games which is unusual.

"He has got the respect of the players. In the main, most of the fans want him to stay.''

If the board decide Benitez, whose side drew at Stoke on Saturday after exiting the FA Cup against Reading in midweek, should lose his job, however, Beardsley believes Kop legend Kenny Dalglish would be the perfect man to take over.

Dalglish currently is working with the academy and Beardsley, speaking on Radio 5 Live's Sportsweek programme, said: "If they were to make a change that would be the perfect change. He (Dalglish) knows the club inside out. He and Sammy Lee get on like a house on fire so there wouldn't need to be wholesale changes. But at the moment I wouldn't do anything.''

Beardsley also believes there is no chance Gerrard, who was on the brink of joining Chelsea in 2005, will leave his hometown club.

He said: "When he turned down the Chelsea thing I think he committed himself to Liverpool for life and I genuinely believe he'll be there for life.''

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