Liverpool boss Rafael Benitez has rubbished speculation that Robbie Keane could be off-loaded in the January transfer window, and dismissed suggestions that he has demanded a huge pay hike in negotiations on a new contract.
Benitez has begun negotiations on an extension to his current deal, which expires at the end of next season. But he said reports they had hit a snag over his personal financial demands were wide of the mark. "I told my agent when he went into the talks to not talk about money, the question was about the length of the contract, and after that it was my role," Benitez said on the eve of his side's UEFA Champions League clash with PSV Eindhoven on Tuesday. "The last question was about the money."
The Spaniard appeared to confirm that Liverpool's American owners had only offered him a two-year extension initially but that a longer term deal was now on the table and that he was happy with the progress of the talks.
Keane has failed to sparkle at Anfield so far and recent reports have suggested his former club Tottenham could try to re-sign him in January. But Benitez dismissed the stories as speculation, despite having dropped the Irish striker to the bench for Saturday's win at Blackburn.
"In football we know we have signed a good player," Benitez said. "He has to know he needs to fight and work hard. But he has a future here, why not? I have a lot of patience, with everybody. He will be here after the January window, it is not my idea to sell him."