Benitez very close to new deal

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Rafael Benitez is "very close" to sealing a new contract extension with Liverpool, according to chief executive Rick Parry,

The Spaniard has been Reds boss for four-and-a-half years - during which time he has won the Champions League - and has 18 months of his current deal still to run.

Benitez has told his club's American owners he is looking for a contract which will allow him to be part of the "long-term future" of the Merseyside club and wants assurances over boardroom stability.

An announcement on his future could be made shortly, according to Parry who told BBC Radio 5 Live's Sportsweek programme: "He is nearly there."

He added: "The owners have made a commitment and said they wanted to extend and keep him. Clearly he wants to stay, so yes it will be done.

"We have had a few hold-ups this week with his unfortunate illness.

"That has slightly got in the way, but it won't be very long now. I cannot be specific, but it is very close now."

Benitez has often clashed with the owners over transfer policy, most notably during the on-off Gareth Barry saga last summer.

Parry hinted there may be little movement in terms of new arrivals at Anfield when the transfer window opens again next month.

"It is difficult to do smart business in January," he said. "Teams still in the Champions League certainly are not going to sell, and it takes time to settle players in."

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Gareth Barry
Premier League

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