Benitez targets summer signings
Updated Friday, 26th March 2010
Liverpool manager Rafael Benitez believes how his side finishes the season could have a significant bearing on his transfer options in the summer.
Although the club are sixth in the Barclays Premier League, four points behind fourth-placed Tottenham having played a match more, on paper they have the easiest-looking run-in of all the Champions League hopefuls. And Liverpool go into a Europa League quarter-final against Benfica next week hoping there is still a chance of winning some silverware.
"Players want to win trophies and want to finish in the top four," said the Spaniard, who has already agreed a pre-contract deal with Standard Liege forward Milan Jovanovic. "The players know it is important to perform now for the future and they want to stay here so I think it will be okay."
He added: "We are now in a situation where we have to move forward and try to bring the best from each player.
"It is not easy to stay at a very good level in a season. The main thing is we have some players coming back from injuries and if they are together and push together I am sure we will do really well.
"This club is a massive club so if we can progress in the Europa League and finish in the top four a lot of [other] players will be thinking whether to come here or stay where they are."
Last week goalkeeper Jose Reina confirmed he was very close to signing a new long-term contract and now Javier Mascherano has followed suit.
Securing the pair on extended deals was a priority of Benitez's and it seems he has been successful in persuading the 25-year-old Mascherano, who was linked with a move to Barcelona last summer, his future lies at Anfield.
"I have never said I was not happy at Liverpool. That was the press," said the Argentina captain, who has been one of the more consistent performers in a disappointing season - even when filling in as an emergency right-back on a couple of occasions.
"I am happy here and the only way I can show that is with my performances on the pitch. The club are talking with my agents. I don't like to be involved in the contract meetings so I leave that to my agents and the people at the club."