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Benitez wants more than just Champions League success

Rafa Benitez won't be satisfied even if Liverpool wins the Champions League for the second time in three years.

Reds fans always remind him that it has been 17 years since the club won the domestic league title, and the Liverpool manager said he will make more changes to his squad even if it beats AC Milan in Wednesday's final.

"We know we can improve and we will do by bringing in new players with character, quality and experience. We must keep going forward," Benitez said as his players prepared for a repeat of the 2005 Champions League final against Milan.

"I feel we are going in the right direction but this final is just a stopping point on the way to where we want to be."

Benitez, who guided Valencia to a Spanish league and UEFA Cup double before moving to Anfield in 2004, is aware that, since Liverpool last won the English league title in 1990, Manchester United has won it nine times, Arsenal four and Chelsea twice.

"A second Champions League final in three seasons shows what can be done but we want to achieve even more," said Benitez, whose team came from 3-0 down at halftime to force a 3-3 draw with Milan last time and then won a penalty shootout. "This is going to be an important summer because we want to maintain our progress and keep going forward next season.

"Another European Cup would be very welcome. But the aim is not just to win this trophy, it is to be stronger all round, so we can make a better challenge for the Premiership next season."

Although Liverpool finished third in the Premier League, it was 21 points behind champion Manchester United and 15 behind runner-up Chelsea. In the season when it won the Champions League two years ago, that was after finishing 37 points behind Chelsea in fifth place.

Now Benitez is looking ahead to getting on terms with the two leaders and already has a big squad. That means it looks certain he will sell off several of his players to make room for the newcomers.

Liverpool is reported to be ready to offer Steven Gerrard and Jamie Carragher lucrative new contracts to keep two of his key players at the club. But Benitez has been busy in the transfer market throughout his three seasons at Anfield and this summer looks like being no different.

"I am happy with my players but we need to improve to challenge in the Premiership," he said. "We want to achieve even more. It is important not to think that by getting to the final we have done everything, because we have the potential to be one of the biggest clubs in Europe in every way.

"We are already one of the most famous names in football, but we have the chance to take advantage of our position - it will be an important summer."

American owners Tom Hicks and George Gillett Jr. have pledged they will give Benitez plenty of money to spend so that he can close the gap between Liverpool and the top two teams in the Premier League.

"The new owners have already seen what is possible here," Benitez said. "Every time we have spoken, it has been positive, and we will talk again after the final."

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