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Liverpool say meeting held with Rafa was 'constructive'

Liverpool claim a meeting between Rafael Benitez, chairman Martin Broughton and managing director Christian Purslow has been "constructive and cordial".

The Spaniard was hoping to be given an idea of what transfer budget is likely to await him in the summer, although it is unlikely Broughton -- as a non-executive director -- has the authority to give definite assurances.

Benitez was hoping to get a better idea about what the future holds both for the club and himself personally at yesterday's meeting, although unless a buyer is found it seems improbable co-owners Tom Hicks and George Gillett will invest any more money.

A Liverpool spokesman last night said: "We are pleased that the first of what is intended to be a series of meetings took place today between the chairman, managing director and the manager. The meeting was constructive and cordial.

"There was an exchange of views on issues of concern to both the board and the manager which were either addressed or to be picked up in forthcoming meetings."

Benitez's departure appears to be becoming increasingly unlikely with his agent Manuel Garcia Quilon providing almost daily updates on the situation.

"At the moment it is more likely that Rafa will remain in England," he said.

However, he stressed Benitez needed some positive news on the financial front.

"The aspect of investment in the team is important because Liverpool need reinforcements," he added.

Meanwhile, co-owner Tom Hicks is angry at the publication of comments he made that suggested it will take another two years to sell the club.

Reports yesterday quoted the Texan as saying he and fellow American George Gillett had been owners for three years but would not be in charge for five.

That was interpreted as him claiming it would take two years to sell the club he and Gillett bought back in 2007.

However, it is understood Hicks has reacted angrily to the publication of the remarks, which he does not deny making but which were part of an interview with US magazine Sports Business Journal in late March.

The Texan has pointed out the comments were made before he and Gillett officially put the club up for sale last month.

He also clarified a quote in which he said he had paid a

"terrible price" for ownership of the club -- he claims that referred to his American-based sports interests in the form of Texas Rangers baseball team and Dallas Stars ice hockey franchise.