The Chelsea interim manager will discuss transfer targets with the owner, Roman Abramovich, and the technical director, Michael Emenalo, once the side have returned from Wednesday night's Capital One Cup quarter-final against Leeds United. Sturridge, 23, has started only one Premier League game this season and is expected to cost Liverpool £12m after narrowly missing out on a switch to Anfield last summer. Brendan Rodgers, the Liverpool manager, hopes the former Manchester City striker will ease the attacking burden on Luis Suárez.
Benítez said of his plans to alter the squad: "My way to do things is go to the people in charge. They will know my ideas and after the club will decide. You don't need to talk to the owner too much because he has people in between. I know what he likes, he knows what I like.
"I was talking with Michael Emenalo this morning. He likes to watch the training sessions, so it's very easy to communicate. I think that we have time [to discuss names] before January. We have two or three days after this game."
Frank Lampard has been linked with a move away from Stamford Bridge in the new year but the midfielder, who will play on Wednesday evening, is not expected to leave the club he signed for in 2001before the summer. "He's fully committed, he's an important player for us and he's doing well in every training session and also in the games," said Benítez, who will on Wednesday make changes to the starting XI who lost to Corinthians in the Club World Cup final on Sunday.
John Terry, Ramires, Mikel John Obi and Gary Cahill are unavailable, and Ryan Bertrand could come in for Ashley Cole at left-back. Sturridge is back in training following a hamstring injury but remains a doubt. "Who knows what is the strongest team available," Benítez said. "Sometimes the big names are not best for this game. It's difficult to find the balance."
Chelsea will renew old rivalries with Leeds having not played the Championship side since 2004. The two clubs have had a hostile relationship over many years, which reached vehement hatred in the 1970s, and Chelsea supporters travelling by coach will be escorted to Elland Road after a police rendezvous at Woolley Edge service station.
Ch Supt Paul Money, the West Yorkshire police commander for the fixture, said: "I'll ask the managers of both teams to speak to the players and ask them to avoid doing anything which may antagonise supporters from the opposition team.
"We want the focus of the day to be the action on the pitch and for it not to be overshadowed by violence or disorder.
"Experienced football intelligence officers from the Metropolitan police will be working alongside West Yorkshire officers to identify any troublemakers. We will not hesitate to take firm action against any fans who cause disorder or use violence."
The game will be a 35,000 sell-out, with Leeds having been forced to reduce the capacity following agreement with West Yorkshire police. The club, who are in the midst of a protracted takeover, won a high court action in July that ruled the force had to repay three seasons' worth of policing costs at Elland Road on matchdays.
However, Leeds stated in November that Chelsea's allocation for Wednesdaynight's game has been reduced from 5,000 to 3,000 after discussions with police "determined that the unrecoverable costs of preventing the potential for disorder, if 5,000 fans from Chelsea were present, was not an acceptable sum to be borne by the police".
Leeds will pay the costs of stadium police through their gate receipts, but not for costs on land that is not owned or controlled by the club. When they played Manchester United at Elland Road in the League Cup 15 months ago, 21 arrests were made and one police officer suffered a broken leg.
The Leeds manager, Neil Warnock, has admitted that he may not shake Benítez's hand. Warnock's Sheffield United side were relegated from the Premier League on the final day of the 2006-7 season and he claimed that the Spaniard, then the manager of Liverpool, played a weakened team that allowed Fulham to secure the win they required to stay up.
Benítez said: "I'm a professional and have to behave. The league is about 38 games, not one."
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image: © Ben Sutherland