With Tottenham and Manchester City circling, Benitez ducked questions over the Irishman's future in the pre-match briefing:
Question: "Can you understand why there was a reaction to Keane not being in the squad?"
Benitez: "It's because people talk of names and prices but as a manager you have to analyse each player in each session for each game. We had enough people with quality and that's it."
Benitez: "No. Those people have enough quality and we have confidence in them."
Q: "Did you speak to Keane about dropping him?"
Benitez: "I talk to all the players but it wasn't necessary to speak to him about it. Sometimes with the young ones you need to but the experienced ones know the situation."
Q: "It'd be easy to kill all the speculation by just saying he's not for sale, so why won't you?"
Benitez: "Clearly he is our player and in the squad for tomorrow and that's it."
Q: "Do you want to sell him in the January window?"
Benitez: "I want to see him scoring goals tomorrow. I don't need to sell any players. We are in the title race, I want to keep all the players. We don't need to sell anyone."
Q: "If it was Fernando Torres, wouldn't you kill that one off immediately?"
Benitez: "I don't have that problem so don't need to."