Liverpool warned off Villa man

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Aston Villa owner Randy Lerner insists the club would reject any approach from Liverpool for manager Martin O'Neill.

The Northern Irishman has been the subject of speculation linking him to the Merseyside club, with current Reds boss Rafael Benitez's position uncertain following a season in which they finished seventh to miss out on the Champions League.

Lerner told the Birmingham Mail: "Liverpool are not taking Martin O'Neill away from Aston Villa as far as I'm concerned."

The American, who last week confirmed O'Neill would be staying on at Villa Park, was full of praise for his manager and added: "He's a complicated guy, he's led a long life, played for Brian Clough, was in Northern Ireland during a tumultuous period and it has influenced his personality.

"It's also why his tenacity and taste in how to get something done is what it is and that's the lens I look through.

"When you're with him and he gets into the mix, it's an education.

"Not many people come abroad and find themselves in a situation where you have a Martin O'Neill, who's going to sit there and say: 'That's the right player for that position', and then sit there and explain it to you. You get a lot of that."

Meanwhile, Jermaine Beckford's agent has refused to comment on reports that the Leeds striker could move to Villa Park on a free transfer this summer.

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