I'll fight every inch of way to make Liverpool FC champions - Rafa Benitez
RAFA BENITEZ today promised supporters he is up for the fight as he looks to turn Liverpool from Premier League challengers into champions.
The Reds boss admits it will be a testing summer with only a limited transfer kitty at his disposal.
But the buoyant Spaniard, who signed a new five-year deal back in March, is relishing the challenge.
When I decided to sign a new contract I did it because Liverpool Football Club is more than a club, he said.
It is the heart of the city. It is our life and for the people here it means so much.
I thought I had to sign. We have to fight. We have to do it.
The people in this city are always fighting and have been fighting all their lives. We want to do the same.
We know the situation is not fantastic but I have a lot of confidence in our squad and we want to fight like we did this year.
Liverpools summer spending is expected to be dwarfed by a number of their rivals with Manchester City having already beaten the Reds in the battle to sign Gareth Barry for £12million.
However, Benitez believes his transfer kitty is big enough to land his main targets.
And he insists he only needs one or two players to ensure the Reds build on the progress they made during a memorable campaign.
It has been a terrific season for us, he said.
We came very close and we were competing on all fronts. We want to repeat the same next season.
I wont talk about any figures and I cant say how much we have.
Clearly we dont have too much to spend but I think we have enough money to add the one or two players that we need.
Im very happy with the squad weve got.
If we can sign one or two players then Im really positive that we can improve.
Benitez believes there is much more to come from the current crop, who pushed Manchester United so close in the race for the title.
Im also positive because we were talking recently about how Fernando Torres and Steven Gerrard didnt play together for a long time this season, he added.
Hopefully they will play together more next season.
Weve also got good young players like David Ngog, Nabil El Zhar, Ryan Babel and Emiliano Insua, who was playing really well, coming through.
We have a very good squad but we can still improve a little bit.
How much can we improve? Enough to the win the title? Im sure it will be enough to compete.
Like this year we will try to compete on all fronts until the end.
Benitezs focus in recent months has been on ensuring the club keep hold of their star names.
Daniel Agger, Fernando Torres, Steven Gerrard and Dirk Kuyt have all followed their managers lead by agreeing new deals.
Clearly we knew the situation in the world would be difficult this summer, he said.
Some clubs were asking for our players so the priority was to extend the contracts of our key players. Those players who are the spine of the team.
We spent some money to guarantee this and now we just have to improve a little bit because we are in a very good position.
Benitez will celebrate five years in the Anfield hotseat next week and he admits the support of the fans continues to inspire him.
Every single year, every single week and every single day when you talk with a fan he is supporting you and supporting the team, he said.
You can see the passion and it makes a massive difference.
This city has passion. When we talk about Evertonians they have passion for their club that is really good.
Our fans are amazing and when I talk with people in Spain they all say the same.
We will see it again when we go to Asia in pre-season.
I receive a lot of letters from people talking about the club. And as I said before this is more than a club. It is the heart of the city.