Gerrard tells new owners

LIVERPOOL - Liverpool's Steven Gerrard has reminded new owners George Gillett and Tom Hicks that he considers manager Rafael Benitez a fantastic boss in a hint not to make any changes in that regard.

LIVERPOOL - Liverpool's Steven Gerrard has reminded new owners George Gillett and Tom Hicks that he considers manager Rafael Benitez a fantastic boss in a hint not to make any changes in that regard.

The English Premiership giants accepted a £438 million (about R6 132 million) takeover offer from the US tycoons on Tuesday.

Gillett, who owns the National Hockey League's Montreal Canadiens, joined forces with Hicks, owner of the NHL's Dallas Stars and the Texas Rangers baseball team, to trump rival bidders Dubai International Capital last week.

Gerrard and club teammate Jamie Carragher pulled no punches at their first meeting with Gillett and Hicks but presented the pair with a signed shirt each.

Gerrard said they keep faith with Benitez because he views the Spaniard as "one of the great geniuses of the modern game".

Gillett said: "They spoke extremely warmly about Rafa and made us aware that they feel this man is truly one of the great geniuses in the recent history of the sport.

"Secondly, they wanted to talk about players and to encourage us to support [chief executive] Rick [Parry] and Rafa's efforts in building the team.

"They were also clear with their views on the stadium. They made us aware the sound, the energy and the passion that Anfield provides needs to be incorporated into the design of the new stadium."

The takeover means work is now expected to start on the new 60000-seater Stanley Park stadium in the next two months, with the new owners also considering selling the naming rights to the ground.

But Gillett and Hicks made clear that there was no chance of sharing the stadium with Merseyside neighbours and bitter rivals Everton football club.

The two sports tycoons also threw down the gauntlet to Manchester United and Chelsea by promising to make Liverpool the biggest and best club in the world. - Sapa-AP

X