Benitez contract talks begin

Rafael Benitez has been rewarded for Liverpool’s impressive start to the new season with negotiations on a new contract set to open shortly.

Doubts had been cast on whether the club’s owners would offer the Spaniard, who’s current deal expires at the end of next season, an extension with co-owner George Gillett thought to be unwilling to express his confidence in Benitez’s future at the club.

But Liverpool remain joint top of the Premier League after 11 games, having already beaten title rivals Manchester United at home and Chelsea away.

A statement from Tom Hicks and Gillett read: ‘œRafa continues to do a great job. We look forward to talking to him and his advisors about extending his contract.’

And Benitez’s reaction to the talks opening sounds like he is keen to commit his future to the club. He said, “We haven’t spoken about the length of the contract but we talked and we all want to find a solution as soon as possible,” he told the club’s official website.

“For me it’s easy. I want to stay here – I am where I want to be. It’s very simple.”

Benitez arrived at Anfield in 2004 on a five year contract and signed a one year extension in 2006 meaning he is contracted until the summer of 2010.

Benitez has indicated he wants the contract situation sorted quickly in order to not distract the team during the busy period coming up soon. He also joked on Friday he would happily sign a 20 year contract at the club!

The Reds continue their Premier League campaign at home to West Brom tomorrow evening. Kick-off at Anfield is 17:45.

Audio: Listen to Benitez discuss contract extensions (BBC)
Discuss: Talk about Benitez’s contract with fellow fans here