Benitez safe with Reds
Liverpool managing director Christian Purslow has dismissed rumours that Rafa Benitez could be sacked.
Last Updated: 25/10/09 12:09pm
Liverpool managing director Christian Purslow has dismissed speculation that Rafa Benitez could be facing the sack.
Ahead of Sunday's crucial meeting with Manchester United, there has been widespread rumours that the Reds boss could be fired following his side's slump.
Liverpool are in a worst run of form for 22 years, but Purslow insists Benitez's job is safe.
He said: "The most important aspect of the football club I was involved in in my first week in the job was securing Rafa for another five years. You only have to look at the Premiership era and our two major competitors in the last 10 to 12 years to see the benefits of longevity.
"Liverpool football club is on a long-term journey and that journey is to be the most successful club, firstly in our country and secondly in the world and you don't do that by worrying about short-term results. You do that by having long-term plans centring on the people and the strategy. Rafa Benitez is absolutely central to that plan.
"The core of the team which won 86 points last season remains intact with some excellent additions so I have every reason to believe we can perform at that level this season over the season."
To the direct question of whether he would guarantee Benitez's position was safe even if the club did not win the league he said: "Yes I would."
Purslow has also rubbished suggestions that star striker Fernando Torres would be allowed to leave Anfield if UEFA Champions League qualification is not secured.
He said: "Fernando signed an extension to his contract this summer. He has a five-year contract. He is a crucial leader in our team. He loves Liverpool Football Club. He has been fantastic around the place. Fernando Torres and Liverpool Football Club go together and I believe they will go together for the length of his career."
To the question that he was not for sale at any price, Purslow replied: "Correct."
The same, he insisted, went for Steven Gerrard, while he said Argentina midfielder Javier Mascherano, whose future has been the subject of speculation, was also happy at the club.
Purslow said: "He is the leading central holding player in world football. It is inevitable that big clubs will covet players of that quality.
"We also had another central midfielder (Xabi Alonso) coveted by a world team in the summer who left us.
"We sat down with Javier at the time and he reasserted his total commitment to Liverpool. He has had a lot going on with the Argentina (World Cup) qualification situation which is now behind him. He is a hugely important player for us. He is a leader and this week in the aftermath of Lyon he has been a powerful figure."
Purslow also revealed Liverpool were four weeks into a process of raising new equity in the club which could take six months.
He said: "There has been a huge amount of interest in the club from some extremely wealthy and expert investors but it will take three to six months to pull that together.
"It means there will be new investment into the football club. Mr (Tom) Hicks and Mr (George) Gillett have no plans to sell their shares. We will be issuing new equity to new investors, broadening our ownership."