The Liverpool Echo says Benitez wanted to snap Kaladze up to provide defensive cover for Jamie Carragher, Daniel Agger and Sami Hyypia but when Tom Hicks and George Gillett refused to even discuss potential transfers before December 16, the chance to sign him was lost and the Reds boss reacted angrily.

Having been ordered to concentrate on "coaching and training", Benitez saw this as evidence that Liverpool's American owners were not prepared to back him in the transfer market and, brimming with indignation, used a Melwood press conference to let the world know that all was not well at Anfield.

With Daniel Agger currently injured and Sami Hyypia entering the twilight of his career, the proposed acquisition of 29-year-old Kaladze for a fee of around £4m was seen as crucial to his ongoing squad building.

But with transfer talk banned at Anfield until mid-December that deal died a lingering death last week and Benitez was left with nothing to console him but a swift return to the drawing board.