Benitez coy over Hicks visit

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Liverpool manager Rafael Benitez is too intelligent not to have drawn his own conclusions over the significance of the surprise visit of co-owner Tom Hicks to Anfield on Sunday but he side-stepped questions over what implications it had for himself.

Reports in Italy suggest Juventus are set to send a delegation to Merseyside on Monday to thrash out an agreement with Liverpool to release Benitez from his contract at the end of the season.

Whether Hicks' presence was coincidence or part of the preliminary stages of an exit strategy for the manager only the Texan knows, but Benitez said: "If he is around I will see him. It is good to see him here. It is always positive."

The Liverpool manager stressed that Hicks was not involved in the club's transfers in any way and his input was not required nor welcome.

"For us we are working hard on a daily basis with the managing director so it is not a big difference," added Benitez.

"We have a managing director and a chief scout and we are working together.

"We don't need more people deciding about any player."

A group of a hundred or so supporters staged a noisy protest against Hicks and Gillett's running of the club outside the ground after the match.

Reports on Sunday suggested the co-owners' search for outside investment will see them drop their asking price to around £100million for up to a 50% share.

Should they be successful that could see the beginning of the end of the Americans' tumultuous and controversial tenure at the club but, at the moment, that is still a long way off.

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