Benitez plays down Jones row

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Liverpool manager Rafael Benitez played down claims by Sunderland counterpart Steve Bruce that the club have been "disrespectful" in their attempts to sign Black Cats striker Kenwyne Jones.

Bruce said last week that the Reds had tried to unsettle the Trinidad and Tobago international, whom Benitez is believed to want to sign on loan to cover for a six-week lay-off to striker Fernando Torres. Benitez on Monday insisted he had not been involved at all in any negotiations and was concentrating on football matters.

"I was not dealing with this," said the Liverpool boss.

"(Managing director) Christian Purslow has been talking with (Sunderland chairman) Niall Quinn so they have to manage the situation because I was not doing anything.

"I prefer not to talk too much because we will create a debate so Christian and Niall will continue to talk if they need to talk.

"They were in contact but I don't know what the situation is now."

On Friday, Bruce said: "I find it hugely disrespectful, the antics of Liverpool and this constant badgering of Kenwyne Jones, when we as a club haven't heard anything.

"I don't know whether they are serious or whether Rafa is playing games with his board. It might be power games at Liverpool."

Privately Liverpool are understood to be angry at Bruce's comments, particularly as Press Association Sport understands preliminary talks have been taking place between the clubs since last month.

Copyright (c) PA Sport 2009, All Rights Reserved.

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Kenwyne Jones
Premier League
Steve Bruce
Fernando Torres

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