|Juergen Klinsmann: A very impressive man according to Liverpool's owners |
One of Liverpool's American owners Tom Hicks has admitted he and fellow owner George Gillett met former Germany manager Juergen Klinsmann in November to discuss the possibility of him replacing Rafael Benitez.
The Liverpool chairman admitted they had spoke to Klinsmann, who has since been appointed as Bayern Munich boss from next season, but said they had now given Benitez their full backing after a meeting with the Spaniard.
"In November, when it appeared we were in danger of not advancing in the Champions League, weren't playing well in our Premier League matches, and Rafa and we were having communication issues over the January transfer window, George and I met with Juergen Klinsmann to learn as much as we could about English and European football," Hicks told The Liverpool Echo.
"He is a very impressive man. We attempted to negotiate an option, as an insurance policy, to have him become our manager in the event Rafa decided to leave our club for Real Madrid or other clubs that were rumoured in the UK Press, or in case our communication spiralled out of control for some reason."
Benitez was publicly critical of the owners during that period, particularly over their plans for the January transfer window, and speculation mounted that the manager's days were numbered.
However, after a meeting in December the tension eased.
"After George and I had our long and productive meeting with Rafa following the Man United match, we put all of our issues behind us and received Rafa's commitment that he wanted to stay with Liverpool," Hicks said.
"We never reached agreement on an option with Juergen and we are both pleased for him that he has a great opportunity to return to Germany and coach a great club team.
"Rafa has both of our support, and our communication has greatly improved," added Hicks, who said that Benitez now has weekly meetings with chief executive Rick Parry and Foster Gillett, son of George.
Benitez position still looks to be under threat with the side 12 points behind leaders Manchester United and clinging to fourth place on goal difference and a game in hand.