Rafa's Premier League Head-Start

Michael WaddingtonCorrespondent IJuly 18, 2008

Finally. A summer of stability at Anfield. Rafael Benitez can sit at his desk every day and go about his business without seeing his face or his players faces on TV everyday.

While Liverpool have gone about their business quietly this post-season, Manchester United, Chelsea and Arsenal have had their chief-executives, chairmen, and managers grilled on the future of their star players by nearly every major TV channel in the world.

Cast your mind back a few years, Steven Gerrard was the man at the centre of constant speculation. The 'will he or won't he' saga with Chelsea just did not go away, it even re-surfaced a year later. Real Madrid were banded about as potential suitors for the England midfielder also.

In Rafael Benitez's first summer at Liverpool it was Michael Owen who was the major transfer story of the summer with his move to Madrid.

Last year, in-fighting and unrest at the top kept Liverpool in the news. The new co-owners apparently at logger-heads, with neither talking to one another and both reluctant to release transfer funds. In amongst all of this unrest Rafa somewhere found nearly £50m to bring in players like Fernando Torres and Ryan Babel.

Fast forward to today. The broken relationship between the co-owners is apparently on the mend. Steven Gerrard has had a very quiet summer, partially due to England's absence from the European Championships. The only flicker of transfer news regarding Liverpool's top players was a laughable bid from Chelsea for the Kops new favourite son Torres.

Agreed, Liverpool have lost Peter Crouch and Xabi Alonso has been linked with just about every major club in Europe, but the difference between these 'deals' and those in recent years are that they come with the managers blessing.

Crouch was offered a new contract by Liverpool, but once he made it clear he would not play second fiddle to Torres, Rafa was happy to cash in on a player that figured little last term. Alonso is considered the money maker for potential bids for Aston Villa's Gareth Barry and Tottenham's Robbie Keane, both of which Benitez feels are integral to sealing the gaps in the Liverpool squad, while Alonso is considered expendable.

If Benitez can get his deals done, and soon, he may just be able to put his feet up and enjoy the rest of the summer while the likes of Ronaldo, Drogba, Lampard, and Adebayor remain the major stories on TV's across the world.