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18.4.08

Rafa Benitez wants to stay for a long time

The popular Spanish coach Rafael Benitez reaffirmed his commitment with the club by making clear his desire to "stay for a long time" ahead of today's visit to Fulham and Tuesday's Champions League semi-final against Chelsea FC.

Indeed, Benitez had cast grave doubts about his long-term future at Anfield last weekend in the row over exactly who attended meetings before Christmas with Jurgen Klinsmann when the manager's job was discussed.

The current Liverpool manager demanded answers from co-owners Tom Hicks and George Gillett, plus chief executive Rick Parry, but speaking yesterday he refused to discuss the ownership battle or any meetings he may have had with his bosses and said instead: "At this moment I have two years of my contract still to go, I am absolutely happy here. And I want to stay. And I want to stay for a long time."

Later, asked if he had spoken to Hicks, Gillett or Parry, the manager assured: "I do not need to talk to them, I need to talk with my staff and my players. We have been training and all I want to talk about is the matches against Fulham and then Chelsea."

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