7 Oct 2009

Blame Benitez, says Liverpool co-owner

7:08 am on 7 October 2009

The Liverpool football club's co-owner George Gillett has taken the unusual step of urging fans to blame manager Rafael Benitez for on-field failings.

Gillett insists more money's been pumped into the team than into rival outfits, some 128 million British pounds by his reckoning, which means Liverpool should be getting better.

But Sunday's 2-0 loss at Chelsea was the Reds' third defeat of the season, more than they suffered in the whole of last season - and they also lost to Fiorentina in the Champions League last week.

Gillett's outburst may be an attempt to deflect criticism of himself and the other American businessman Tom Hicks, who have been relentlessly slated for putting the debt incurred in buying Liverpool onto the club's books rather than shouldering it themselves.

Last week Liverpool's bankers ordered the Americans to find new investors to reduce the club's debt - or sell up.