Blame Benitez, says Liverpool co-owner

Co-owner George Gillett has urged Liverpool fans to blame manager Rafael Benitez for on-field failings and insisted more money has been pumped in to the team than into rival outfits.

“We have invested more money than our competitors in keeping with the history of the club,” Tuesday’s Daily Telegraph quoted the American businessman as saying.

“In the last 18 months we have invested £128-million on top of what has come in. That means it should be getting better.

“Now if it’s not getting better, it’s not Gillett and [co-onwer Tom] Hicks, it’s the manager, it’s the scouting,” the newspaper quoted Hicks as telling a fan meeting at the club’s Kirkby academy last week.

“There was plenty of money, so if you have any complaints, take a look at the ins and outs,” Gillett said.

Sunday’s 2-0 loss at Chelsea was the Reds’ third defeat of the season—more than they suffered in the whole of last season—and they also lost against Fiorentina in the Champions League last week.

Gillett added that the £30-million fee recouped from Xabi Alonso’s move to Real Madrid “went straight back” into the club’s transfer budget, which was already set at “22-23 million as part of our budgets”.

“The club is in extraordinarily good financial condition. Far better than Manchester United, Chelsea or Arsenal,” he said.

“We have invested massively, we have put more money in than anyone other than Manchester City, with the craziness they have got.”

Spanish manager Benitez, who has this season steered clear of public statements on the owners after nearly two years of conflict, has refused to write off Liverpool’s chances of winning the Premier League this season despite falling lying in fifth place, six points behind leaders Chelsea.

Benitez’s team looked anything but championship quality on Sunday as Chelsea overpowered them in the second half.

“This year the top sides will lose games but you have to try to improve and we will try to win against Sunderland next,” the Spaniard said.

“We drew a lot of games last season too, we will now try to win and if we have more wins than draws, we could end with the same amount of points.”—Sapa-AFP

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