Benitez holds Champions League crisis talks
Rafael Benitez has held talks with his Liverpool bosses over the implications if the club fail to reach the last 16 of this season's Champions League. Discussions were also held on if the club fail to qualify for next season's lucrative European competition. The Liverpool manager revealed that the club did not budget this term for anything beyond the group stages. And Benitez insisted he was confident financial problems next season will be avoided "because we will achieve a top-four finish". Qualification from Group E is out of their hands after the midweek draw in Lyon. And reaching the Champions League next season is also under threat with them currently sixth in the Barclays Premier League, a point behind fourth-placed Manchester City, who are at Anfield on November 21. Before that Liverpool face Birmingham at Anfield on Monday, needing to get their current form back on track. Liverpool face earning £10million less from their European campaign this season if they do not reach the last 16, with another £10million lost if they do not qualify for next season's group stages. Benitez says: "I spoke to Christian Purslow (Liverpool's managing director) the other day about the finances. The first thing, though, is that we have confidence we can still reach the last 16 of the Champions League this season. "But whatever happens, the budget was done for this season based on us only qualifying for the group stages. And we did that, that is complete. Whether we can still bring in more money, we will wait and see. The commercial department is working very hard, for the next season (in Europe) it is a question of time. "The Premier League is a long race, we must keep going. I am confident the team will finish in the top four and we are able to continue to do well in Europe, so let's start against Birmingham with the right result. We have to do our job against Birmingham, and then I can guarantee that things will start to get easier."
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