Benitez to discuss Anfield future
Liverpool boss Rafael Benitez heads into a meeting with new chairman Martin Broughton this week which could well decide his future at the club.
A 2-0 defeat to Chelsea in their final home Premier League match of the season finally put paid to hopes of securing Champions League football next season, the first time they had missed out on Europe's elite club competition since they finished fifth in 2002-03.
It also meant Liverpool will finish the season with their lowest points tally in five years, since accruing 58 in Benitez's first campaign in charge back in 2004-05.
Benitez would not comment on increasing speculation that his future lie elsewhere, having been linked with a summer move to Juventus since January.
The Spaniard is keen to stay on at Anfield but after years of what he sees as broken promises from the club's co-owners Tom Hicks and George Gillett, who officially put Liverpool up for sale last month, he remains to be convinced he will be given the resources to carry out the massive rebuilding job which needs to be undertaken.
Benitez has been disappointed Broughton, appointed by the American duo to oversee the sale of the club, has not spoken to him about the future.
That situation will be rectified before their final league match at Hull on Sunday and what is said in that meeting could have a crucial bearing on whether Benitez stays.
"I will have a meeting with the chairman in a few days," said the Liverpool boss.
"I have four years of a contract [left] so we will see.
"The fans want to know (whether Benitez will be in charge next season) but I want to know what is going on next week against Hull.
"Always in the past two years, the manager here has been taking responsibility for everything.
"The reality is that if you compare with other teams in terms of money, power and the option you have in the market, so you can analyse carefully and then you have answers.
"The fans are very clever, they know what is going on. It is very clear that things are like this now and still we have to carry on going forward.
"Next season we have to do almost everything perfect and if we make one or two mistakes we don't have the possibility to react, so it is more difficult for us.
"We will prepare for the next game (at Hull) and then start thinking about things for the future."
Benitez rejected the suggestion the half-hearted post-match lap around Anfield after the equally lacklustre defeat to Chelsea was his farewell to the supporters.
"We have to say thank you to our fans, as always, because they have been very good," he explained
The victory over Liverpool was never in doubt from the moment Didier Drogba latched on to Steven Gerrard's disastrous 33rd-minute back-pass.
Frank Lampard's close-range goal nine minutes after the interval from Nicolas Anelka's cross finished off a side who looked a spent force after their 120-minute Europa League semi-final exit to Atletico Madrid on Thursday.
Had it not been for goalkeeper Jose Reina the scoreline could have been worse as the Spain international denied Florent Malouda and Michael Ballack and also made a smart double save from Anelka and then Salomon Kalou.