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Friday, January 30, 2009
Benitez turns on Harry over Keane comments

Soccernet staff

Rafael Benitez has confirmed Liverpool have told Tottenham Hotspur they are unhappy with their recent conduct relating to Robbie Keane.

The Liverpool manager believes that comments from Harry Redknapp, his counterpart at White Hart Lane, that he would like Keane at his club could constitute an illegal approach.

Liverpool have not officially reported Spurs to the Premier League, but Benitez has not ruled out doing so, saying: ''We have not decided yet whether we will take this further, it depends on their response.''

Liverpool are particularly unhappy because of Spurs' complaints about the Reds' conduct when Keane moved to Anfield for 20m last summer, a situation that was only smoothed over when Liverpool apologised and made a donation to a charity of Tottenham's choice.

Spurs did make contact with Liverpool on Thursday, but Benitez said: ''We have said to Spurs that we are not happy with them because of the comments from their manager about Robbie Keane.

''I do not think that they have come in with an offer. He has been training this week very well, he is our player and he is trying to make sure he is ready for the next match. I think he is a long-term part of our plans, I hope he scores a lot of goals.''

Benitez added: ''We are not happy with Spurs. We have told them we were not happy with their manager's comments in his press conference about Robbie. We were very, very correct when we signed Robbie even though Spurs were complaining. Now we have this situation to deal with.

''But Robbie has been fine. Spurs wanted the player but they had to do things properly. They have to make an official offer and we will say yes or no. You must do things properly, especially when you have complained about everybody when he first joined us.''

Keane was dropped by Liverpool for last weekend's FA Cup tie against Everton, but returned to the squad at Wigan on Wednesday where he was a late substitute for Steven Gerrard.

The Republic of Ireland captain will be in the squad for Sunday's home match against title rivals Chelsea.

Ahead of the game at Anfield, Benitez admitted that January has been a ''terrible'' month, but insists he feels under no extra pressure as his side have drawn seven of their last 11 Premier League games and allowed Manchester United and Chelsea to leapfrog them in the title race.

He said: ''We are eight points better off at this stage than last season. We are very positive and if we can beat Chelsea everybody will be talking in a different way about us.

''We are in our best position for the last 10-15 years. So we have to enjoy it and try to keep doing our best. There is no extra pressure on me. I can guarantee that I have not read a newspaper, listened to radio or watched TV since the Wigan game.

''I spent Thursday enjoying some time off with my family because I knew there would be a lot of people trying to talk about things they do not know about.''

But he accepts that Liverpool must beat Chelsea, adding: ''We showed character and quality to beat them earlier in the season, and we showed the same things in beating Manchester United here.

''Now if we can continue to show those qualities and beat Chelsea again, maybe we will be in the headlines for something positive. It has always been important to beat sides who are at the top, but maybe this year even more because we are very close to them.

''We are closer. Last season we were 14 points behind at this stage, but now it is different.''

But Benitez knows Liverpool's situation, despite a 15-match unbeaten run, must improve quickly.




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