my liverpool fc

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Liverpool buyout

Rumours abound that Liverpool haverecieved offers from several wealthy businessmen around the world. It appears that one prospective new owner may be a wealthy Arabian figure.

Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan is the current President of the United Arab Emirates and Emir (Ruler/ Leader) of Abu Dhabi. He is one of the wealthiest Arab businessmen in the World. He is wealthier than his half-brother, Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan who is the owner of Manchester City FC.

Sheikh Khalifa, as he is known, is said to be the third wealthiest royal with his net-worth around $19 billion, he also has major interest in Abu Dhabi and UAE developments.

If he was interested in taking over Liverpool, his wealth could mean the Reds would have more financial power than both Manchester City and Roman Abramovich’s Chelsea.Is this the right man to take over from the ill-fated reign of Hicks and Gillett? He sounds like the answer to Liverpool’s fan’s prayers.

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Torres not going anywahere

Liverpool striker Fernando Torres has told a fan that he will not be moving to Manchester City this summer. Rameez Mahomed, from Johannesburg, was one of the 23 mascots who were present at the match between Spain and Honduras last week and according to the Sunday Times, Mahomed asked Torres whether he would be leaving Liverpool. Mahomed said of Torres’s reply:

“He told me he would never go to Manchester City because his heart was with Liverpool and also because he gets along well with Steven Gerrard.”


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Liverpool set to announce Roy Hodgson as manager

Roy Hodgson
Liverpool are confident of bringing Roy Hodgson to Liverpool. Photograph: Tom Jenkins for the Guardian

Liverpool expect to finalise the appointment of Roy Hodgson as the club's new manager following his return from South Africa today. The Fulham manager, who has been commenting at the World Cup for the BBC, has been the frontrunner for the Liverpool job since Rafael Benítez left Anfield this month and could be confirmed as the Spaniard's successor within days.

Liverpool have considered several candidates for the position, including the former Real Madrid and Villarreal coach Manuel Pellegrini, but Kenny Dalglish, the club legend asked to conduct the managerial search alongside the managing director, Christian Purslow, is not in the running.

Anfield officials are confident of securing a deal with Hodgson now that he has returned from South Africa and with his prospects of being offered the chance to succeed Fabio Capello as England manager diminished by the national team's World Cup victory over Slovenia.

It is understood the make-up of Hodgson's backroom staff is one of the issues to be resolved prior to his appointment, with the 62-year-old keen to bring the Fulham assistant manager, Mike Kelly, with him to Merseyside.

While Liverpool await the arrival of their next manager, Yossi Benayoun is close to leaving Anfield for Chelsea after the two clubs agreed a £5m fee for the Israel international.


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Dirk Kuyt unsure of Liverpool FC future

Dirk Kuyt

Dirk Kuyt admits he is unsure about his future at Liverpool FC.

With Rafa Benitez having departed recently and the club yet to unveil his successor, uncertainty reigns at Anfield at the moment. Kuyt is concentrating on Holland's ongoing World Cup campaign, with a last-16 clash against Slovakia at the forefront of his mind, but was non-committal about his future on Merseyside.

"I'm just focusing myself on the World Cup," he said.

"I still have a long-term contract with Liverpool and I'm just focused on the World Cup. What happens at Liverpool, we'll see."

Asked whether he has had contact with departed boss Benitez, Kuyt said: "I haven't spoken to him. I've had a few text messages but they were more like 'good luck for the games' and 'well done'."

As for reports linking him with a move to join Benitez at Inter Milan, the forward said: "We have to see what happens. I also have a great time at Liverpool and I still have a two-year contract. My focus is on the World Cup but I'm still happy to play at Liverpool.

"But who knows what happens in the future? We have to see.

"If the possibility is there...we have to see what happens with the new manager at Liverpool. Hopefully we'll get new players but we'll see what the future is for me."


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No transfer for Masch

Javier Mascherano is one of a number of Liverpool’s key players being linked with a move away from Anfield this summer, but it seems now that the club touted as his most likely destination have pulled out of the race to sign the Argentinian midfielder. Internazionale president Massimo Moratti was recently quoted as saying:

“Mascherano is a strong player, but it is unlikely that he will arrive. He simply costs too much and it is uncertain that Liverpool will sell.”

Whether or not Mascherano is worth the reported £25 million price tag is up for debate, but Inter’s reluctance to splash out is great news for Liverpool. The only other club which has been strongly linked with him is Barcelona, but Catalans seem more intent on signing Arsenal’s Cesc Fabregas, who would most likely cost a fair wedge of Barca’s summer transfer budget as well as taking up one of the centre midfield spots Mascherano would occupy.

Aside from Mascherano, nothing much has come up surrounding other players linked with moves. Steven Gerrard has been linked with Real Madrid, but could, like Mascherano, prove to be too expensive for Jose Mourinho’s side (although if there’s one club that love paying large transfer fees, it’s Real Madrid). Fernando Torres was rumoured to be off to Barcelona, but they have already brought in David Villa, and with Zlatan Ibrahimovic in reserve, they are unlikely to be after another striker.

It seems as if the media could simply have gone into overdrive after Liverpool’s poor form last season. It was inevitable that after such a low finish, big name players would be linked with other clubs, but of the three biggest that looked like they might leave, Mascherano, now looks like he could be staying. Of course it’s not good to have a player who wants to leave, but Liverpool have been fair to Mascherano in declaring an acceptable price, and if Inter aren’t prepared to pay that, then hopefully he will be professional enough to still perform at a high level while he remains at Anfield.

Obviously, there is still a long time left until the transfer window closes, but this revelation by Inter is great news for Liverpool, and I believe that the core of Liverpool’s squad will still be there come September 1st.


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Benayoun signs Chelsea deal – reports

Reports in Israel this afternoon suggest that Liverpool midfielder Yossi Benayoun has signed a 4-year deal with Chelsea.

Benayoun has been linked with the Premier League holders since the end of the season, with a fee of around £6million thought to have been agreed between the two clubs.

Reports say the 30-year-old midfielder will undergo a medical at Stamford Bridge later this week before his move to Carlos Ancelotti’s men is confirmed.

Benayoun made 92 appearances for Liverpool after signing from West Ham in 2007, scoring 18 times.


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Roy Hodgson must decide if he wants Liverpool FC job – Fulham's Clint Dempsey

Roy Hodgson

ONLY Roy Hodgson can decide if he will become the next Liverpool manager.

That is the opinion of Fulham striker Clint Dempsey who is the latest Cottagers player to respond to mounting speculation linking Hodgson with a move to Anfield.

The Fulham boss is the firm favourite to succeed Rafa Benitez, who is set to be unveiled as the new Inter boss today after parting company with Liverpool by mutual consent last Thursday.

Earlier this week, Fulham goalkeeper Mark Schwarzer declared he “wouldn't blame” Hodgson if he took up the opportunity to join Liverpool.

Now Dempsey has joined Schwarzer by speaking out about the veteran coaches future.

Dempsey is in South Africa with the USA World Cup squad preparing for their opening Group C game against England in Rustenburg on Saturday.

Schwarzer said he would be disappointed to see Hodgson leave Craven Cottage this summer and Dempsey insists any decision lies with the 63-year-old should Liverpool make their move.

“If the coach wants to be there he will be there,” said Dempsey. “He has to do the best for him and his family.

“It is not something I can worry about. I am with Fulham for three more years and I will do my best for the club until something happens.

“If he wants to stay, let him stay. If he wants to go, let him go.”

But with the likes of Tottenham manager Harry Redknapp and Italy boss Marcello Lippi ruling themselves out of the running to replace Benitez, Hodgson – whose wife hails from Liverpool – heads an ever decreasing list of viable candidates.

Aston Villa boss Martin O’Neill remains in the frame while former England and Manchester City chief, Sven Goran Eriksson, has revealed his lifelong support for Liverpool admitting he would dearly love to take the reins at Anfield.

There is also growing support among fans for Reds legend Kenny Dalglish to get the job on a permanent basis.

However, club ambassador Dalglish has been handed the task of helping managing director Christian Purslow locate the next incumbent of the Anfield hotseat and his advisory role could prove a stumbling block.

Meanwhile, reports in Italy claim Fiorentina are keen on taking Emiliano Insua to Serie A.

The Argentinian left-back endured a difficult season with Liverpool but that has not deterred La Viola.

However, Fabio Aurelio’s departure could prevent Insua moving on.

The Brazilian was told he can leave Anfield this summer after four injury-plagued years on Merseyside. That means 21-year-old Insua will be the only recognised senior left-back at the club.

FERNANDO TORRES made a scoring return for Spain last night as he came off the bench to net in the European champions 6-0 rout of Poland in their final World Cup warm-up in Murcia before heading for South Africa.


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Liverpool FC snub Kenny Dalglish over manager’s job

Kenny Dalglish

LIVERPOOL FC will press ahead with their plans to speak with Roy Hodgson over the vacant manager’s role – despite Kenny Dalglish declaring his interest in the position.

The Anfield hierarchy have targeted Fulham manager Hodgson as their preferred choice to succeed Rafa Benitez, who departed last Thursday after almost six years in charge.

Liverpool still intend to approach the Craven Cottage outfit later this week with a view to being given permission to talk with Hodgson, and are prepared to offer the 62-year-old a rolling 12-month contract.

Although aware of Dalglish’s stance, the club were nevertheless surprised with his decision to go public with his desire to once again take on the role of manager that he

held between 1985 and 1991.

The Anfield legend has been employed in an ambassadorial capacity at the club for the past year and was thought to be advising managing Christian Purslow in determining Benitez’s successor.

But now Dalglish wants to be taken into consideration for the position and as such will no longer play any part in the selection process.

Hodgson, though, remains the first choice with the club seeking a steady pair of hands to stabilise matters following the tumultuous conclusion to Benitez’s reign.

Benitez will be confirmed as Inter Milan manager in the coming days after agreeing a three-year deal with the Serie A side.

The Spaniard is expected to take a number of his backroom staff from Anfield with him to the San Siro, and reports in Italy suggest he will also attempt to sign some of his former players.

Chief among them is Glen Johnson, with it being claimed the right-back is among Benitez’s list of wanted players as he aims to replicate Jose Mourinho’s feat of winning the treble of Italian league, cup and Champions League.

Meanwhile, Fernando Torres has hailed a “perfect” comeback after making his return to action after almost two months on the sidelines.

Torres made his first appearance since undergoing surgery in April as a goalscoring second-half substitute in Spain’s 6-0 friendly demolition of Poland on Tuesday night

And now the 25-year-old is hopeful of being involved when Spain begin their World Cup campaign against Switzerland in Durban next Wednesday.

“I am very happy because now it is nearly two months after the surgery and I haven’t noticed any problems,” said Torres.

“It was a very important day to me because to play in the World Cup is most important.

“The minutes I played were useful to gain rhythm and to confirm that my knee is good.

“It was perfect, and to get a goal as well, I’m very happy.”

European Championship winners Spain are among the favourites to lift the World Cup in South Africa, but Torres has warned an arduous adventure awaits.

“We have recuperated and our timing is there on the field,” said the Liverpool forward. “But the World Cup is very long and it will not be easy.”


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Benitez to target double Anfield swoop

Dirk Kuyt could be a transfer target for Rafa once more

Speculation has been mounting for days concerning the future of Javier Mascherano. It is well known that Mascherano and Benitez have a lot of mutual respect and the Argentine captain’s recent statements suggesting only Benitez could follow in Mourinho’s footsteps at Inter will have pleased our former manager.

As Benitez prepares to be unveiled at the current European Champions Inter Milan reports in today’s Mail suggest that not only will Mascherano be a target but also Dirk Kuyt.

According to the press Inter Milan will make a joint bid of £33M for both players, although the World Cup will no doubt complicate factors.

Dirk Kuyt said:

‘I don’t know for sure who is going to be in charge at Inter, but Benitez is a fantastic coach and would be a great choice for them.

‘Working with him is perfect and I am grateful for all he did for me. I was delighted when he asked me to join him at Liverpool, and while we were together, he gave me a lot of good suggestions about how I could improve my game.

‘He was good for my career. I have read a lot about what might happen now, if he goes to Inter, but I am just concentrating on the World Cup.

‘That is important, because I want to have a good tournament. I have a contract with Liverpool, and I have to respect that, because they are a big club and have been good to me.’

Rumours from Italy have suggested that Inter will have about £50M to spend this summer on new players.

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Kenny Dalglish throws hat into ring in surprise bid to manage Liverpool

Kenny Dalglish

Kenny Dalglish has told Liverpool he is prepared to make a sensational return as manager as the previous incumbent, Rafael Benítez, agreed to become the new coach of Internazionale last night.

Dalglish, who quit the Anfield job in 1991, is currently charged with identifying the club's next manager alongside the managing director, Christian Purslow. The Liverpool legend, however, is willing to enter his own name into that process and believes he can revive the club's fortunes on a limited budget and, crucially, convince Steven Gerrard and Fernando Torres not to leave this summer.

Dalglish, 59, has admitted that he regrets quitting as Liverpool manager 19 years ago, when the stresses of dealing with the Hillsborough disaster took their toll, and claimed he would have been ready to return after a brief sabbatical.

The Scot's desire for the position may present a problem for Purslow and the Anfield board, who are looking at replacing Benítez with a manager currently in the game. Roy Hodgson emerged as the favourite in the aftermath of the Spaniard's exit last week, although no official approach has been made to Fulham. Any appointment of Dalglish, who has not managed since his acrimonious departure from Celtic in 2000, would appease many Liverpool supporters at a turbulent time. With the club lacking the resources to entice many leading names this summer, he could also offer the emotive pull to convince Gerrard to resist overtures from Real Madrid.

Dalglish first became Liverpool manager in the days after the Heysel disaster in 1985, when he took over from Joe Fagan. The Scot, who had signed from Celtic as a player for £440,000 in 1977 and won seven league titles, three European Cups and five domestic trophies at Anfield, secured the Double in his first season in charge and during his six-year spell won two more titles and the FA Cup in 1989, following the Hillsborough disaster. He returned to the game with Blackburn in late 1991 and took them from the second tier to become Premier League champions in 1995 and also had a short period at Newcastle, steering them to a second-place finish and the 1998 FA Cup final.

While Liverpool ponder this development, the man they parted company with "by mutual consent" last week has completed a dramatic change in fortunes and agreed to coach the European champions. Benítez's unveiling at Internazionale is now a formality, according to the president Massimo Moratti, after he accepted a three-year contract worth in the region of €5m (£4.1m) per season. "We have agreed the final details, which were not important things," Moratti said in a statement on the Inter website last night. "All that is needed now is a counter-signature. Tomorrow we will tell you when he will be presented."

Benítez has been on holiday in Sardinia while his Anfield departure was negotiated and soon began talks over his move to San Siro, where he will replace José Mourinho. He is due to sign this week and after hiring Liverpool's first-team coach Mauricio Pellegrino, goalkeeping coach Xavi Valero and fitness coach Paco de Miguel, may also tender a bid for the disillusioned midfielder Javier Mascherano.


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Article:Post Rafa

Many of you will remember that I thought it was time for Rafa to leave and thankfully, he has done so. But I really don’t understand the blind faith of the “In Rafa We Trust” brigade. Of course we should support our manager within reason, but when the manager makes a statement “promising” 4th position and the last Champion’s League place … and then the same manager gives us only 7th place, then surely the manager IS responsible isn’t he? Surely the buck must stop with him?

I just wonder how the “In Rafa We Trust” blind faith brigade would have reacted if Rafa had stayed and we had lost the likes of Stevie, Torres and Carra? Would their blind faith have remained as the proceeds from these sales were part channelled into servicing our debts and part channelled into mediocre replacements?

Don’t get me wrong, I am glad we had Rafa as our manager. After Gerard Houllier’s last few years we all needed someone fresh and someone to inspire us…. and inspire us Rafa did with what must surely be our greatest victory ever – Istanbul. How can we also regret having someone who brought us a second Champions League final in 3 years, or who gave us that fantastic FA Cup victory?

I just think he stayed for 2 years too long – and yes, that even takes into account our second placed finish last year that as far as I’m concerned, was a “fluke”. Yes I know how many goals we scored last season but we clearly ran out of ideas with way too many draws. The title was there for the taking as the other three teams out of the then “big four” couldn’t string together a title-winning run of games either. In my opinion, Rafa’s tactics killed off our chances of finally raising that Premiership trophy.

But that’s all in the past. Rafa has gone now so what next?

I think there’s a lot of cause for excitement and optimism now. It wouldn’t surprise me if a buyer has already been found for the club – but that there are complexities with any such arrangements such as any deal being reliant on Benitez leaving, the right managerial replacement being found and our key players staying at the club. Even IF a buyer hasn’t been found, it is clearly crucial that we get the next manager right and that our key players remain.

I have received a lot of emails asking for my opinion on who our next manager should be. Firstly, I think we need to go back to basics and to the grass roots of English football – and for me, we need a British manager at the helm. The exceptions to that rule would have been Mourinho and Hiddink – but they are both accounted for.

I very much respect Roy Hodgson and what he has achieved on the Continent and with Fulham, but I’m just not sure he’s who Liverpool needs right now. Has he got the hunger needed for our top job? Can he command the respect of our top players? I’m not saying I will be disappointed if he DOES get the job, but for me there are better candidates out there.

I believe it is a 3-horse race for the top job. By that, I mean that any of the following 3 candidates could all do a great job for us:

Jan. 14, 2010 - 05344654 date 13 01 2010 Copyright imago BPI Liverpool Global Ambassador Kenny Dalglish PUBLICATIONxNOTxINxUKxFRAxNEDxESPxSWExPOLxCHNxJPN men Football England FA Cup Cup Cup tie 2009 Liverpool Portrait Vdig xsk 2010 vertical premiumd Football.

1. “King” Kenny Dalglish

Friends have intimated that Kenny would jump at the chance. “Unfinished business” and the chance to lead his beloved Reds again might be too tempting to turn down. Clearly, he would have the support of the fans and the club and is the one man who could be guaranteed to bring stability back to the playing side of the club. This stability is just what the club needs whether a buyer has been found or is still being sought. I don’t buy into the theory that he’s been away from the game too long – when you’ve got the talent, then it doesn’t go away. At 61, he’s still relatively young enough for the position but only he can answer if he himself is up to the demands of the job

2. Harry Redknapp

Sure, Harry is no spring chicken anymore but he would clearly love to finally get his hands on the reigns of a top 4 club – although ironically of course, that’s exactly where he is now! The current Spurs boss only has a year left on his contract and he is rumoured to have fallen out with the top brass at the North London club. Yes, Harry would have to turn his back on Champion’s League football next season, but how many more chances will he get to manage a club like Liverpool? Other than Kenny Dalglish, Harry is the one manager who would certainly command the respect of the dressing room and for me, he’s one of the few bosses who could convince Stevie to see his career out with us. On a final note, Harry is a success story in the transfer market and surely the board will give serious consideration to a manager who is probably the best bet to spend wisely with what little funds are available.

Apr. 25, 2010 - United Kingdom - Football - Aston Villa v Birmingham City Barclays Premier League - Villa Park - 25/4/10..Martin O'Neill - Aston Villa manager.

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The great intellectual, Bill Shankly once said “A lot of football success is in the mind. You must believe you are the best and then make sure that you are.”

A mantra arguably observed by Rafael Benitez during his reign as Liverpool manager and one he needed to adopt if he didn’t already do so.

This is a man who took a team of mediocre footballers, albeit with one or two rough diamonds back to the pinnacle of European football after spending years in the wilderness and in the shadows of Europe’s elite.

Take one look at the starting line-ups from the 2005 Champions League final compared to that of the last European Cup triumph of 1984 against Roma. The contrast is startling; the 1984 squad boasted probably some of the best players to ever don the red shirt.

The exuberant strike-force of Ian Rush and Kenny Daglish, supported on the wings by Sammy Lee and Ronnie Whelan, dominating in midfield you had Graeme Souness and the versatile Craig Johnson, all that built on the foundation of Bruce Gobbelaar in goal and a back four of Phil Neal, Alan Hansen, Mark Lawrenson and Alan Kennedy.

Compare that to the 2005 squad that faced more Italian opposition in AC Milan. In goal you had the unpredictable Jerzy Dudek, a back four of Steve Finnan, Jamie Carragher, Sami Hyypia and Djimi Traore, in midfield, the cultured Xabi Alonso and Steven Gerrard, Luis Garcia and John Arne Riise on the flanks and Harry Kewell and Milan Baros partnering up-front.

Of course as we all know how those games ended in Liverpool bring Old Big Ears home on the plane to an adoring public, be it in incredible different circumstances.

Now looking at the 2005 team sheet they are all should be considered LFC legends because of their participation is such as classic final and a glorious chapter in the club’s history.

But the truth is the majority of the team had no place in a team of European Champions, it was Benitez that made them believe they did.

Benitez has often been lambasted for his lack of encouragement to his players and the distance he keeps from his squad members, using them more like pawns in a chess game than football players.

As many players have professed in the past, Benitez is the man behind the success, despite what some critics say about Steven Gerrard’s heroics during his tenure.

Sure, Gerrard has played his part but Benitez was the man to turn him into the determined player he is today, something that may have not happened under Gerard Houllier’s management. The detached style, shrewd tactics and strict roles he enforced on a team with limited ability brought out the best in them when it mattered most.

Liverpool's Rafa Benitez Photo via Newscom

Much has been documented about Benitez’s failings as Liverpool manager from persistently stubborn attitude to player and tactics, signings, boardroom disputes, public ramblings and player and staff relationships.

I too have been a critic at times as has been documented on this very website but the fact remains, to label Benitez’s career as Liverpool manger as a failure is a travesty of justice.

He took Liverpool from the doldrums to the within reach of climbing back on to that mile-high perch that Shankly set all those years ago.

Boardroom troubles and mismanagement from our ‘prestigious’ owners and chairmen marred Benitez’s chances of joining the ranks of Shanky and Paisley and walking out of Anfield as a true hero and a man of the people like his predecessors.

He made mistakes, every manger does but he leaves Liverpool, in my eyes at least as a legend. A man of his own, a fighter ‘til the end, unwilling to accept defeat and with the distinct ability to grab victory from the jaws of certain defeat and humiliation.

Rafael Benítez Maudes I for one salute you, if you should grace the hallowed turf of Anfield once again, be it as a visitor, I invite 45,000 more to do the same.

Brian Irvine


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Rafa to raid Liverpool FC’s backroom staff

Rafael Benitez

RAFAEL BENITEZ will raid Liverpool’s backroom staff after taking over as Inter Milan manager.

Benitez is expected to be installed as new coach at the San Siro in the coming days having held talks over a three-year deal with Inter president Massimo Moratti.

The Spaniard has been targeted by the Italians after leaving Liverpool last Thursday following almost six years in charge at the club.

And Benitez is ready to return to Anfield to take some of his trusted lieutenants with him to Serie A.

Reports in Italy indicate Benitez will take Liverpool assistant manager Mauricio Pellegrino, goalkeeping coach Xavi Valero and fitness coach Paco de Miguel with him to the San Siro.

Italian Amedeo Carboni – who played under Benitez as a midfielder at Valencia – is also likely to be added to his backroom staff.

The imminent departure of key coaching personnel further underlines the need for Liverpool to intensify their efforts in finding a replacement for Benitez.

Managing director Christian Purslow, with the help of club ambassador Kenny Dalglish, is heading the search, although Dalglish

himself has emerged as an early front-runner along with Fulham manager Roy Hodgson.

Whoever comes in will make the futures of Javier Mascherano, Fernando Torres and Steven Gerrard a priority, with all three linked heavily with a move away from Anfield.

Mascherano has hinted he wants to follow Benitez to Inter Milan, while Gerrard is a target for new Real Madrid manager Jose Mourinho.

Torres has attracted interest from Manchester City and Chelsea, with Barcelona thought to be preparing a big-money bid to take him to Spain and reunite him with international strike partner David Villa.

But Torres yesterday hinted he won’t return to La Liga when declaring England has the better league.

“As a competition, the Premier League is the best,” said the forward, who is preparing with Spain ahead of their World Cup opener against Switzerland on Wednesday week.

“When you are talking about organisation, respect and having all the stadiums full every weekend, it is really nice to see that.

“In Spain they have some of the better players in the world but, as a competition, it is not as big as the Premier League.

“I’ve played in Spain and can tell you honestly, the Premier League is much better.”


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Liverpool FC deal for Serbian international Milan Jovanovic is still on

Milan JovanovicMilan Jovanovic

LIVERPOOL are committed to wrapping up a deal for Milan Jovanovic as they begin the process of rebuilding after the Rafa Benitez era.

The Serbian international has long been on the Reds’ radar and Benitez had laid the groundwork for bringing the versatile striker – he can also play on the left side of midfield – to Anfield on a Bosman this summer.

Terms on a three-year deal were initially agreed with Jovanovic in February and he also passed a stringent medical in London in April – now all that remains for him to become a Liverpool player is the formality of completing a work permit.

Liverpool officials are “confident” that will be wrapped up shortly but the fact that no deal has yet been signed means there is still a possibility that the player could yet decide not to pursue a move to Anfield.

Jovanovic is understood to have expressed some concerns about Benitez’s departure from the Anfield hot seat as one of the reasons he indicated his desire to leave Standard Liege was to work with Benitez.

It must also be stressed, however, that he is overwhelmed by the idea of playing for Liverpool and, on a number of occasions, the 29-year-old has said how he is looking forward to the fact he “will now never walk alone”.

Inevitably, he will have questions to ask regarding what the future holds for the club but Liverpool remain optimistic that they will be in a position to officially announce his arrival in the near future, possibly before the World Cup starts.

As someone who scored 69 times in 146 appearances for Standard Liege – one was a penalty that knocked Everton out of the Europa League in October 2008 – Jovanovic will be an important addition to a squad that lacked striking options last season.

The hunt for Benitez’s successor, meanwhile, will not have a time scale, despite speculation intensifying and the odds plummeting around a number of names in the betting market.

Mark Hughes and Martin O’Neill, for instance, have been heavily linked in different areas, as has Fulham manager Roy Hodgson; the latter remains the early favourite at this stage, as he ticks a number of the boxes that the board are looking for.

No formal approach has been made to Fulham for Hodgson as yet and the Europa League finalists would not welcome a move for their manager, who has a £2.5m release clause in his 12-month rolling contract at Craven Cottage.


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Sven-Goran Eriksson: It would be a dream to manage Liverpool
Lifelong fan: Sven-Goran Eriksson says he has always been a Liverpool fan, as was his father before him Photo: GETTY IMAGES

Hiddink has been linked with the vacant Liverpool job since Rafael Benítez departed Anfield by mutual consent on Thursday.

The 63 year-old enjoyed a successful spell in the Premier League as interim Chelsea boss in 2009, but the former Australia manager has just taken over as Turkey coach and has no intention of walking out on his new employers.

Hiddink's agent, Cees van Nieuwenhuizen, said: "Guus has shown over the years that he is loyal to agreements that he signed. There is no reason today why he would change such behaviour.

"Guus just started two weeks ago in Turkey and as much as he likes the Premier League and as much as he respects Liverpool as a legendary club with a great future ahead, a switch would be hardly doable.

"Two weeks ago for the same reason he refused the position at Inter Milan post-Jose Mourinho.

"I know, never say never and especially in football this is true, but for me this is an impossible thought."

The Reds are believed to be looking at several other candidates including Aston Villa boss Martin O'Neill and Fulham's Roy Hodgson.

One man who could be interested in the Anfield post is Ivory Coast coach Eriksson.

The former England boss has only agreed to manage Ivory Coast until the end of the World Cup and the Swede gave a strong indication that he would be ready to succeed Benítez after revealing he supported Liverpool as a boy.

Eriksson said: "I have been a Liverpool fan all of my life. I never mentioned it when I was in charge of England because I didn't think it was fair.

"I was shocked when I discovered Rafa Benítez had left. Would I want to be the manager of Liverpool? It is every manager's dream to manage Liverpool.

"My father was also a Liverpool supporter and every Saturday we would watch an English match on television. It was the highlight of the week.

"Liverpool matches were televised quite regularly and we would cheer them on. They have always been my team and nothing has changed.

"When I was starting out in coaching I was invited to Liverpool to see how they did things. Joe Fagan was the manager at the time.

"I remember him showing me around Anfield and taking me into their legendary boot room.

"It was such a privilege and an honour for me to be invited in there. I will never forget that moment. Liverpool will always hold a special place in my heart."


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Steven Gerrard faces decision day on Liverpool future

Steven Gerrard training
The England captain, Steven Gerrard, faces a choice this summer of a move to Spain or remaining at Liverpool. Photograph: Kirsty Wigglesworth/AP

It looks like Steven Gerrard is going to have another World Cup ruined. No sooner had the Liverpool captain spoken of his distress at being tapped up by Chelsea four years ago in Germany, and two years before that at the European Championship in Portugal, than events at Anfield took a turn to defy all his best efforts to put club matters out of his mind and concentrate on England for the duration of the tournament.

When Gerrard said last month he was going to shut himself off totally from events on Merseyside, and had told all his family and friends that he did not wish to discuss any "club stuff" until he returned from South Africa, he could hardly have imagined that might involve turning his back on conversations with Kenny Dalglish.

It was a good plan, though not one that ever had much chance of standing up to developments such as José Mourinho taking over at Real Madrid or Dalglish being installed as kingmaker at Anfield. Not to mention Sven-Goran Eriksson coming out as a lifelong Liverpool fan. Gerrard found out four years ago how persuasive Mourinho could be, and that was when he only had Stamford Bridge to offer and not the glamour of the Bernabéu. Gerrard came close to leaving Anfield in the early years of Rafa Benítez's reign, but eventually decided to stay. Now he probably wants to go, he would find one final chance to link up with Mourinho hard to resist, yet in Dalglish Liverpool have astutely appointed the one man to whom Gerrard has no option but to listen.

Gerrard will have the best coach in the world in one ear this summer, offering him an escape route from the ongoing turmoil at Liverpool and the chance to end his career among the really big prizes instead of striving for little reward in the Europa League, and his lifelong friend, mentor and role model in the other urging him to stay. If Liverpool have asked Dalglish to identify their next manager, it is not because they needed someone with a phone number for Roy Hodgson or Martin O'Neill, it is because they know that Dalglish will act as a conduit for whatever Gerrard wants to happen.

There is a school of thought that insists Liverpool would be better off selling Gerrard while they can – he has just turned 30 and will not always command a sizeable fee – though by bringing Dalglish into the process the club have done everything in their power to persuade their captain to stay on. For all his good intentions, it would hardly be surprising if Gerrard is once again a little distracted during the World Cup. Fabio Capello has just admitted the possibility of Dalglish turning up in person at England's training camp in the next few days, seeking permission to speak to Gerrard and Jamie Carragher.

Christian Purslow, the Liverpool managing director, made a smart decision in bringing Dalglish onside, not least because such a populist move will keep complaint over the treatment of Benítez to a minumum. The problem for any incoming manager, however, whether it be Hodgson or O'Neill or one of the more ambitious targets such as Guus Hiddink or Louis van Gaal, is that the club remains in poor shape off the pitch. The owners are distant, in both senses of the word, and want to sell up. There are no buyers at the price they are demanding, plans for a new stadium have stalled and the future is unclear. The club may need to buy time with a temporary managerial appointment.

Benítez has left Liverpool with three extremely good players, Fernando Torres, Javier Mascherano and Pepe Reina, who could either form the basis for a new team – should funds unexpectedly become available – or be sold on quickly for a tidy profit. There are rather more players who also need to be sold and will not yield a tidy profit, and with Carragher not getting any younger the defence is going to have to be rebuilt. Liverpool have not won a title in 20 years, Chelsea, Manchester United and Arsenal are all more secure at the top of the league and Manchester City awash with money, so this is not a particularly auspicious time for any manager to be taking over at Anfield.

More or less the same thing could have been said in December 1959, the month Bill Shankly walked into Anfield, but those were different days. The maximum wage was still in operation, which meant that though Liverpool were in the Second Division they were able to rise extremely quickly under a well-organised manager who had spotted the club's potential to be the heartbeat of a great city. The maximum wage, for all its manifest unfairness, did at least have the redeeming feature of spreading talent fairly evenly throughout the top two divisions. With all clubs offering a broadly similar rate, players would happily countenance dropping down the table, or even dropping a division, as long as first-team football could be guaranteed.

The opposite applies now, with top players gravitating inexorably to clubs in the Champions League bracket, even if they cannot always play every week. The new way to compete is to find owners with deep pockets, and Liverpool have been left behind in a race they should possibly never have entered in the first place. The city does football better than it does finance, and not for nothing does the most prominent anti-American protest group call itself Spirit of Shankly.

Dalglish, as a graduate of the boot-room culture that produced every Liverpool manager between Shankly and Gérard Houllier, retains much of that spirit. Already there are calls for him to take the job himself, and resume his managerial career after 10 years away from the front line. Terry Venables thinks he should do it, Mark Lawrenson thinks he should do it. "I'd like to see Kenny – if not manager – at least involved in the set-up," the former Liverpool defender said. Bruce Grobbelaar agrees. "There is only one man for the job and that is Kenny Dalglish," the goalkeeper said. "He's respected, he'll be a stabilising influence and if he didn't have the appetite for the game he wouldn't be at Anfield every week."

As Houllier once complained, the list of ex-Liverpool players with media platforms to express their opinions is extensive, and it is no surprise to find them backing Dalglish because to a man they would all be in favour of Liverpool returning to the pattern Shankly established and promoting from within. That may be an unrealistic hope, and there is no indication at the moment that Liverpool intend to turn the clock back with Dalglish, yet to an extent they already have and if the Scot's mission is to get Gerrard to stay he will need to promise him more than Hodgson and a limited transfer budget.

The opinion that matters most about what happens next at Liverpool belongs to someone who is not an ex-player yet, someone who is vainly trying to shut out the siren calls from Merseyside in his hotel room in South Africa. A fortnight ago Gerrard was hoping to get away with a quiet World Cup. Fat chance. Not only is he now the England captain, he faces a choice between the Bernabéu and the boot room.


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Martinez: Reds will remember Rafa reign

Wigan boss Roberto Martinez believes everyone connected with Liverpool will remember Rafa Benitez's reign as "an extremely successful period"

Benitez's six-year tenure at Anfield was ended by mutual consent on Thursday following a disappointing 2009-10 campaign in which the Reds were eliminated from the Champions League at the group stage and finished seventh in the Premier League.

Those efforts marked a significant regression for Liverpool, who finished second only a season earlier, and won the European Cup and FA Cup as well as reaching another Champions League final in Benitez's first three years in charge.

Martinez admits Benitez fell short of the club's target's last year but is confident he will be remembered fondly by Liverpool supporters.

Asked if he felt people had been quick to criticise Benitez, Martinez said: "I think it's the nature of the game and at any football club, in any league in the world, when you don't achieve your aims that you set early in the season - that is the sort of business we are living in and as a manager you understand that."

He added: "In any club with the expectation of Liverpool, or Arsenal, Chelsea, Barcelona, Real Madrid - you start to accept that nothing will surprise you."

Martinez believes both Benitez and Liverpool's fans will always remember the good times during his spell as manager.

"In football, it is not about how long you can stay at a club, but what you achieve at a club," Martinez said.

"I think Rafael Benitez will look back at his time at Liverpool, I think the fans and the players will do the same, and it has been an extremely successful period.

"In football these days there are many reasons (why managers leave), with the ownerships and the situation at a club, and I think we are starting to get used to these sorts of situations.

"There is an intense period whenever you are the manager of a football club and you should enjoy good moments."

He continued: "I think everyone will agree that Rafael Benitez brought huge success in Europe, bringing the Champions League and taking the team to another final.

"They were big nights and I am sure everyone will have great memories of Benitez's time at Liverpool.

"He is going to be part of their folklore and their history and that is the way it should be.

"I'm sure Liverpool fans will have huge memories of Rafael Benitez and I'm sure it is a part of his life he will be extremely proud of."

Martinez has also given his thoughts on England's World Cup chances after Rio Ferdinand was ruled out of the tournament with a knee ligament injury.

"Without a doubt, it is a big, big blow," Martinez said.

"More than just the type of player Rio is, it is his character, his leadership and his understanding of the game.

"When you are trying to guess about who is going to do well in the World Cup as a team, those moments are huge.

"But on the other side, you are looking at the possible players who could step up and play instead of Rio.

"You have got huge options, with players that have had great seasons in the Premier League, which we have to remember is the best league in world football.

"So I would say it is a disappointment, but I think the replacements are good enough and ready enough to take England as far as they would have gone with Rio."


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Anfield politics, not results caused Rafael Benítez's Liverpool downfall

Liverpool manager Rafael Benitez
Some of the signings Rafael Benítez made during his Liverpool reign were expensive and unsuccessful. Photograph: Eddie Keogh/Reuters

Were it simply a football decision, a detached analysis of where Liverpool should be in the midst of a debt-ridden power vacuum, then Rafael Benítez, for the many faults, facts and suspect full-backs, would not be leaving Anfield with a lucrative pay-off. But it is not simply football that has done for Benítez.

It is the politicking that is as much a feature of the Spaniard's managerial career as European expertise and the misfortune to fall into the employ of Tom Hicks and George Gillett. The leverage buy-out experts promised a spade in the ground for a new stadium within 60 days of their arrival in February 2007 but have only dug the hole into which Benítez has now fallen. He moved closer to the exit with every refinancing deal the Americans secured while his reputation inevitably suffered with every transfer window without additional funds. Not that Benítez walks away blameless.

In announcing the end of the manager's six-year reign Martin Broughton, the chairman parachuted into Liverpool from British Airways to lend gravitas to the sale of the club, and who could not attend the final home game of last season due to his Chelsea allegiances, stresses that football was behind the departure. No one would dispute Broughton's analysis of the "disappointing season" just gone but this was one dreadful campaign following five seasons of steady progress. The man who delivered Liverpool's fifth European Cup in such miraculous style in 2005 and the FA Cup a year later had enough goodwill left on the Kop to be allowed a shot at redemption. Circumstances inside the club, many Benítez-created, however, ensured that could never happen.

It was only November 2007 when confirmation of an approach to Jürgen Klinsmann from Hicks and Gillett brought Liverpool supporters on to the streets in support of the former Valencia coach. On the back of two Champions League finals in three seasons, FA Cup success and the astute purchases of Fernando Torres, Javier Mascherano and José Reina, Benítez was untouchable in Anfield eyes. An Indian sign over José Mourinho's Chelsea in Europe didn't damage his cause either. His own discontent with the inner-workings of a club without the stadiums or resources of their main Premier League rivals was already surfacing, however.

The morning after defeat to Milan in the 2007 Champions League final brought the first evidence of Benítez the agitator in Liverpool colours. He left Valencia owing to boardroom interference and transfer restrictions, famously stating: "I asked for a table and they brought me a lampshade." He had earlier fallen out with Jorge Valdano at Real Madrid over his input into the youth team. Now he was voicing frustrations inside Anfield. Prevarication on transfers, an underachieving commercial operation, lack of progress with a new stadium and being pressured to keep pace with clubs who could afford to make £20m mistakes on players; his protests were set to repeat until today's exit.

Benítez's motivations were to improve Liverpool but, having won the battle to oust Rick Parry as chief executive and also secured a lucrative five-year contract with no release clause that also ceded to him control of an unproductive youth academy, he consolidated his own authority in the process. That left him exposed should Liverpool falter, and the Americans' financial problems combined with several expensive transfer mistakes made for a fatal concoction last season.

The now former Liverpool manager justifiably raged against having to sell players before he could buy in recent windows, particularly with his squad finally emerging as genuine title contenders in 2009. In that restricted climate, however, he erred badly in marginalising Xabi Alonso and compounded the problem by replacing him with Alberto Aquilani, a talented midfielder no doubt but not, as he recovered from ankle surgery, the player needed to enhance Liverpool's title credentials.

Starved of funds but not, until now, the will to fight, Benítez refused to be silenced on the financial problems, and relationships with the boardroom continued to fracture until the point where he had little support above him. Liverpool could not start next season with the same dysfunctional power structure in place and, with no sign of Hicks and Gillett selling up, the manager became increasingly isolated.

The value of today's Liverpool squad is vastly superior to the one Benítez inherited in 2004 and may be the commodity that has prevented the Royal Bank of Scotland taking more drastic action against Hicks and Gillett. Perversely, however, Benítez inherited a Champions League team from Gérard Houllier and a ticket to his finest hour, the victory that guarantees allegiance among many supporters to this day, in Istanbul the following May. His successor is bequeathed a pass to the Europa League and a team that could struggle to emulate last season's seventh place finish should Steven Gerrard and Torres decide they have witnessed enough false promises and turn the Anfield exit into a revolving door.

Before Benítez bit the bullet there were reports the Liverpool board were forced to act by a threatened dressing-room revolt should the manager stay. Gerrard, Torres and others, so the line goes, have questioned Benítez's management following the last, miserable season. Who hasn't? What is more pertinent to the futures of Liverpool's finest players – many of whom are aggrieved their names have been dragged into the argument – is the direction the club is taking and its ability to strengthen the squad to compete for the top honours once again.

These were the very same assurances that Benítez wanted to hear in his recent meetings with Broughton. Unable to grant them, due to the on-going uncertainty at the top of the club, the Liverpool chairman was left facing a manager disillusioned with financial constraints, in dispute with most of the Anfield hierarchy and accepting that something had to give. That it was him, and not the American co-owners who are the root cause of Liverpool's implosion, will be a source of immense pain for Benítez.


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Reina saddened by Rafa exit

Reds keeper never believed boss would leave

Reina saddened by Rafa exit

Reina: Stunned

Jose Reina has been left stunned after learning of Rafa Benitez's departure from Liverpool.

The Reds goalkeeper is currently away on international duty with Spain preparing for this summer's World Cup.

Rumours regarding the future of his club boss had been circulating for some time, but many expected Benitez to ride out the storm at Anfield.

His sudden exit has come as a surprise to many of those who worked under him, including Reina.

Benitez took him to Merseyside in 2005 and the 25-year-old has blossomed into one of the world's top shot-stoppers during his time in England.

Reina admits to feeling saddened by the news that his club boss has moved on, but is professional enough to realise that change happens in football.


He knows it is now imperative that Liverpool sort out their managerial situation as soon as possible, with the club needing to establish stability if they are to bounce back from the crushing disappointments of a shocking 2009/10 campaign.

"It's a sad moment for Liverpool, for Rafa Benitez and for the players who have been with him," said Reina.

"He was a very important person for the club for six years. Liverpool grew with him and Rafa also grew thanks to Liverpool.

"I hope that this crisis passes. That a person so important for the club as Rafa Benitez has left is news that you never would have expected and that you never would have believed.

"The only thing left for me is to thank him for his confidence during all this time. I wish him the best of luck.

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Rafa year 2

Here's the second part of our look back at the Rafa years in photographs, from Athens to his departure.

Rafa Benitez Rafael

2007: No player did more for the Rafalution than Stevie G, pictured here with the boss ahead of ANOTHER Champions League clash with Chelsea

Rafa Benitez Rafael

2007: The Buddha pose

Rafa Benitez Rafael

2007: There's no number six in Athens

Rafa Benitez Rafael

2007: Torres signs

2007: Rafa's right hand man, Pako Ayestaran, leaves

Rafa Benitez Rafael

2008: Kopites show the gaffer their support with a march outside Anfield ahead of a Champions League encounter with Porto


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Rafa year 1

Here's our first look back at the Rafa years in photographs, covering his first day in the job through to the unforgettable 2006 FA Cup win.

Rafa Benitez Rafael

2004: First day in a new job

Rafa Benitez Rafael

2004: Rafa's first game against Wrexham

Rafa Benitez Rafael

2004: The Rafalution picks up steam

Rafa Benitez Rafael

2004: Istanbul seems a very long way off after defeat in Olympiacos

2005: A shock FA Cup defeat to Burnley illustrates the fact our new boss would need to adapt to English football

Rafa Benitez Rafael


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Rafa Benitez’s Liverpool Record

Sports - December 08, 2007

Benitez's overall LFC record in all competitions. Matches won on penalties recorded as draw.
CompetitionPWDLFAWin %
Premier League228126554737118355.26
FA Cup17845382247.06
League Cup171016312758.82

Season by Season Record

2009/10 Premier League: 7th (63 points) Champions League: Group Stages Europa League: Semi Final (lost to Atletico Madrid) FA Cup: 3rd Round (lost to Reading) League Cup: 5th Round (lost to Arsenal)

2008/09 Premier League: 2nd (86 points) Champions League: Quarter Final (lost to Chelsea) FA Cup: 4th round (lost to Everton) League Cup: 4th round (lost to Tottenham)

2007/08 Premier League: 4th (76 points) Champions League: Semi-Final (lost to Chelsea) FA Cup: 5th round (lost to Barnsley) League Cup: 5th round (lost to Chelsea)

2006/07 Premier League: 3rd (68 points) Champions League: RUNNERS-UP (lost to AC Milan in Final) FA Cup: 3rd round (lost to Arsenal) League Cup: QF (lost to Arsenal)

2005/06 Premier League: 3rd (82 points) Champions League: Last 16 (lost to Benfica) FA Cup: WINNERS (beat West Ham in Final) League Cup: 3rd Round (lost to Crystal Palace)

2004/05 Premier League: 5th (58 points) Champions League: WINNERS (beat AC Milan in Final) FA Cup: 3rd Round (lost to Burnley) League Cup: RUNNERS UP (lost to Chelsea)


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With the news of the sacking of manager , there will no doubt be a mixed reaction among Reds fans. Many will react angrily to the board’s decision and will staunchly defend Benitez’s record, others will be glad that the Spanish manager has gone, while they will be some like me who are left bemused and confused by the whole situation.

Some papers are saying that it was player power that drove the board to sack Benitez basing their claims on the uncertainty of the futures of Steven Gerrard and Fernando Torres. A rumour that belies the facts if we go by Guillem Balague’s report that Rafa held a 20 minute conversation with Gerrard on his birthday last Sunday. There is however, a far more straightforward explanation for it all. The transfer budget.

Straight after the last game of the season against Hull, Rafa came out and said he would stay at the club if conditions were right. The conditions were no doubt predicated on the board guaranteeing that funds would be made available to rebuild the squad during the summer, either through player sales or extra funding. Meetings have been held in recent weeks about this issue and it was obvious that progress was not being made when stories were being leaked to the press about Rafa’s future and his conduct as manager at the club.

On many occasions, papers used the words “sources close to the Board” or the “Anfield hierarchy” when reporting stories about Rafa’s future. Obviously tensions were mounting between the two sides over the issue of transfer funding and it seems almost certain that told Benitez he could not guarantee the manager any funding, and that this has led to the great instability behind the scenes which has culminated in Benitez’s sacking.

The fundamental problem is though; any new manager will have the same issues with the Anfield board as Benitez. The team needs some investment and without funding no right minded individual would take the job when there is no real possibility of reshaping a team in their own image. The next few weeks should have been spent looking at new signings but now it will be spent looking for a new manager. John Aldridge was right when he said yesterday it would beggar belief if they haven’t got someone else to come in within the next week.

If they don’t have somebody lined up, then Purslow, Ayre, Nash, Hicks and Gillett have just shot themselves in the foot. We are now a club stuck in limbo in a time of crisis on and off the field. It may take weeks or even months to find a new manager as the situation the new coach will be coming into will be seriously unstable. While the team will be full of Benitez’s players, he will have no money to spend and rebuild the squad as his own. There is also the prospect of new ownership within the next year and they may not even want the new boss as their manager, while if he does come, he may only have a few weeks before a new season starts.

With Benitez gone, maybe the only real candidate willing to take on the role in the short team although the club’s official statement has stated he will be helping in finding a new manager. Even if he himself was offered it, he may turn down the position for fear that he cannot improve the club’s fortunes with the current owners in charge. It doesn’t matter if you like or dislike Benitez, the timing of his sacking is well and truly awful. For me, if it was to be done at all, it should have been done quickly after the last day of the season rather than now. Any new coach will truly have the biggest baptism of fire in ’s history.


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Benitez leaves Liverpool

Spaniard departs Anfield after six years at the helm

By Rob Parrish Last updated: 3rd June 2010 Subscribe to RSS Feed

Benitez leaves Liverpool

Benitez: Liverpool exit

I have no words to thank you enough for all these years and I am very proud to say that I was your manager. Thank you so much once more and always remember: You'll never walk alone.

Rafa Benitez.

Liverpool have confirmed that manager Rafa Benitez is to leave the club by mutual consent after six years at the helm.

The Spaniard had found his position under severe scrutiny after a miserable season which saw the Anfield outfit finish seventh in the Premier League, missing out on UEFA Champions League football next term.

Benitez's relationship with American co-owners Tom Hicks and George Gillett had become increasingly strained and rumours began circulating that he was to be shown the door on Wednesday evening.

It emerged negotiations were under way behind the scenes to agree a severance package, which is believed to be £6million, with the former Valencia boss having only recently signed a lucrative new long-term contract.

And Liverpool finally broke their silence over the issue shortly before 4pm on Thursday with confirmation that the man who secured the Champions League trophy in 2005 and the FA Cup the following season was heading for the exit.

Very sad

Benitez told the club's official website: "It is very sad for me to announce that I will no longer be manager of Liverpool FC. I would like to thank all of the staff and players for their efforts.

"I'll always keep in my heart the good times I've had here, the strong and loyal support of the fans in the tough times and the love from Liverpool.

"I have no words to thank you enough for all these years and I am very proud to say that I was your manager.

"Thank you so much once more and always remember: You'll never walk alone."

The club will now begin their search for a new boss, with managing director Christian Purslow and club ambassador Kenny Dalglish charged with selecting potential candidates for the role.

Fresh start

Several names have already been linked with the post, including Aston Villa boss Martin O'Neill, Fulham manager Roy Hodgson and Guus Hiddink, who recently signed a deal to manage the Turkey national side.

Benitez's departure leaves the club in an even greater state of flux, with Hicks and Gillett keen to sell their stake to new owners and doubts persisting over the future of star players such as Steven Gerrard and Fernando Torres.

Reds chairman Martin Broughton saluted their outgoing manager but claimed that a change at the top was necessary after a miserable season on the field.

He said: "Rafa will forever be part of Liverpool folklore after bringing home the Champions League following the epic final in Istanbul but after a disappointing season both parties felt a fresh start would be best for all concerned.''




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