Steven Gerrard so fed up with Rafa Benitez he's ready to quit his beloved Liverpool

21 May 2010 10:30
Liverpool fear that captain Steven Gerrard's frustration with life under Rafael Benitezwill see him leave Anfield this summer if he gets the right offer.

Gerrard has been a Liverpool player for more than 11 years, making more than 400 appearances for the club that he almost led to Barclays Premier League glory a year ago.

But Sportsmail understands that the Anfield hierarchy are concerned by the lack of a relationship between the midfielder and manager Benitez and fear he will look at other options this summer.

With Benitez's game of bluff and counter-bluff with the Liverpool board over his future at an impasse, it seems likely that the Spaniard will still be at the club next season.

Rock bottom: Steven Gerrard's relationship with Rafael Benitez has eroded

It is feared, however, that this will heighten Gerrard's sense of gloom with regard to the future and many people at the club are thought to feel it unlikely that the next campaign will begin with both manager and captain on board.

Having missed out on Champions League qualification with a dismal seventh place League finish this season, Benitez and his players are aware that there is little money to spend on new talent, something that is a big worry to Gerrard as he looks to win the title at his beloved club.

With Manchester United, Chelsea and Arsenal cemented as the top three teams in the country and Tottenham and Manchester City ready to challenge again next season, Gerrard is aware that his chances of winning the title with Liverpool are remote.

It is understood that he feels Benitez has been given the chance to take Liverpoolforward but, having failed to build on 2005's amazing Champions League win, has not been able to take it. 

This is a low: Gerrard has become disillusioned with life at Liverpool under Benitez - and may consider pastures new

Benitez and the Liverpool board are aware that star striker Fernando Torres is wondering whether his career could benefit from a move, but there is now a feeling that Gerrard is the player more likely to leave.

The 29-year-old remains frustrated that he has not won a League title and knows thattime is running out. A move abroad is most likely to tempt him and Real Madrid will certainly be interested if Jose Mourinho takes over this summer.

Twice, in 2004 and 2005, Gerrard almost left Liverpool to join Mourinho at Chelseaand a move to Spain would be the perfect way out for the Liverpool skipper.

At home, Manchester City made their own tentative interest but realise Gerrard will notgo to Eastlands despite not having to uproot his family. 

Hero status: Gerrard is surrounded by fans after the last game of the season at Hull

A fee in excess of £25million for Gerrard would at least give Benitez room to manoeuvre in the transfer market.

But it is understood that support for Benitez in the dressing room is far from unanimous.

With Liverpool losing 10 League games last season, there is a feeling among some players that his tactics have lost direction and what will surprise many fans is that Torres has reservations about this, too. 

The Spain striker has been a sensation in the three years he hasspent at Anfield and is recognised as one of the best centre forwardsin the world.

However, City and Chelsea have firm interestin him, too, and the 26-year-old has failed to declare that his futureremains on Merseyside.

Tough times: Torres (left) and Gerrard are two of Liverpool's superstars

Behind the scenes, tension continues to exist between Benitez and the Liverpool chiefexecutive Chrsitian Purslow.

Purslow is aware of the theory that Benitez was trying to strengthen his own position by allowing interest from Italian club Juventus to be known as the season reached its underwhelming climax.

He is also aware of how many important games last season were prefaced by comments from Benitez about his own position or future at the club.

With Italian champions Inter Milan the latest club to be linked with a move for Benitez,it appears that the furore over his future will not die down.

If he does stay then he will do so knowing that his transfer budget will be small. This will further frustrate a manager who is known to feel that he has not had sufficient cash to spend during his time at Anfield. 

Go compare: Inter Milan will tempt Benitez with cash to spend

Rejected: Juventus saw their offer for Aquilani declined

Liverpool have rejected a £9.5m offer from Juventus for midfielder Alberto Aquilani. The club are still unsure about Aquilani's role with the squad next season but would want double that offer to consider selling.

The 25-year-old joined last summer from Roma in a £20m deal and Benitez would want to recoup that money to strengthen his squad.

Juventus know Liverpool's budget is tight and Benitez must generate cash but a swap deal involving Brazil midfielder Felipe Melo has also been mooted.

Aquilani's agent Franco Zavaglia said: 'It is not easy to bring him to Juventus. In this season, when he did not have ankle problems, he has always played and never had any problems with Benitez. So they won't part with Aquilani unless they receive very heavy offers.'

Liverpool may raise cash by selling winger Albert Riera, who is wanted by German club Stuttgart.

Bradford City's 14-year-old striker Callum Pilkington is poised to sign for Liverpool for an undisclosed fee.

 Benitez 'very happy' at Liverpool as he warns Reds not to cash in on TorresCarragher claims Liverpool will survive without wanted striker TorresIs it time for Steven Gerrard to walk alone out of Liverpool?Martin Samuel: Don't weep for Rafa Benitez, he made his own bed.LIVERPOOL FC

Source: Daily_Mail