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Showdown for Benitez

Liverpool manager 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.

Benitez would not comment on increasing speculation that his future lies elsewhere, having been linked with a move to Juventus since January.

Fulham boss Roy Hodgson, on a high after taking the London club to the Europa League final, has already been linked with the Reds job, with Hodgson yesterday commenting "It's flattering but it's pure speculation".

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 put Liverpool up for sale last month, he remains to be convinced he will be given the resources to carry out the rebuilding job which needs to be undertaken.

Benitez has been disappointed that 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."