Benitez pens two-year Inter contract
Former Liverpool manager Rafael Benitez has been
confirmed as the new Inter Milan coach, signing a two-year deal with
the Serie A giants.
Italian and European champions Inter moved swiftly to snap up
Benitez, who left Liverpool last week, as they sought a replacement
for Jose Mourinho who left for Real Madrid earlier this summer.
Benitez is to be introduced at a San Siro press conference next
Paul Dalglish backs father Kenny
to land Liverpool FC manager's job
By James Pearce - Liverpool Echo
Kenny Dalglish is desperate to be named as
Liverpool's new manager, according to his son Paul.
The former Liverpool Reserves striker has revealed his father's
burning ambition to succeed Rafa Benitez in the Anfield hot seat.
And Paul believes the Reds legend, who managed the club between 1985
and 1991, is the ideal man to transform the club's fortunes and
provide unity after a dismal campaign.
“I just think that hopefully he does get it because I know how much
he wants it,” Paul said.
“To be honest with you it would be an unbelievable story for my dad
to be going back.
“Some people say, well what happens if it doesn’t work? He’s been
out of the game for 10 years.
“My question is, what if it does work? What person loves Liverpool
more than my dad?
“Who would Liverpool fans love to see have success more than my dad?
Nothing could make my family more proud. I’d love to see it happen.”
Paul, who lives in America and is head coach of Tampa Bay Rowdies,
believes Dalglish and Reds assistant boss Sammy Lee would be the
perfect double act.
“Sammy Lee is a great coach and very passionate about Liverpool,” he
“He’s the best man for that job. I don’t think they’d sleep at night
until they were successful.”
When Benitez left last week, Liverpool announced that Dalglish, who
returned to the club as an ambassador last year, would be assisting
managing director Christian Purslow in the search for the Spaniard's
successor in the Reds hot seat.
Dalglish has been out of management for over a decade since he
parted company with Celtic.
However, the 59-year-old, who achieved legendary status at Anfield
during a 14-year stay between 1977 and 1991 as first player then
manager, would be a popular selection among the majority of the
And the highly-respected figure could be crucial in helping to
convince key players like Fernando Torres and Steven Gerrard to stay
at the club after the World Cup this summer.
Fulham boss Roy Hodgson is currently the bookies' favourite for the
job but Paul insists Kenny would be a much better bet.
“I think my dad is the best person to do the job, I know he wants
the job,” Paul said.
“If you look at my dad’s record, he’s had one bad year as a manager,
and that was his second year at Newcastle. And he would admit he
made some mistakes.
“Even in that terrible year, Newcastle still made it to the FA Cup
final. He’s a born winner. He’s an inspiration to everyone connected
to Liverpool Football Club. No one can inspire the whole club in
these difficult times like my father.
“As for Roy Hodgson, he’s a very good man and he did a very good job
taking Fulham to the UEFA Cup final.
“I’m sure given the opportunity, he would do a tremendous job. But
I’m biased. I want my dad.”
Dalglish drawn by love for Liverpool
Comment by Henry Winter - The Daily Telegraph
Kenny Dalglish's passion for Liverpool Football
Club runs so deep that he would do anything to help the club and I
am convinced he would take the vacant manager’s job if the board
wanted. Having been asked by the club to lead the search for Rafael
Benitez’s successor, Dalglish would surely be interested himself.
Having spent the season assisting Dalglish in writing a book about
his love affair with the club he joined in 1977, I know how much he
cares for this famous footballing institution. Liverpool’s board
must now decide whether they should sound out Dalglish over whether
he would take on the job or continue with their shortlist believed
to include the likes of Roy Hodgson, Fulham’s manager.
Leaving aside the emotion stirred by even the thought of Dalglish
returning to the dugout, the board would have to weigh up
dispassionately the pros and cons of reappointing their former
Dalglish gets on well with current players such as Steven Gerrard
and Jamie Carragher and is revered by the supporters, following his
golden playing feats and also as the last man to lead Liverpool to
the title, but the board cannot make a decision on sentiment alone.
They must consider whether Dalglish, if he were interested, has the
strengths to lead the team forward. His last two jobs, at Newcastle
United and Celtic, were hardly the greatest successes, although his
knowledge of the modern game, commitment to the club and ability to
motivate remain undeniable.
What is certain is that Liverpool fans will today be feverishly
debating the possibility of Dalglish back in the dugout that he quit
so dramatically in 1991. What is also certain is that it would be
complicated for Dalglish to continue as kingmaker, helping find
Benitez’s replacement, if the board believe that he could well be a
candidate himself. What conclusion is reached, Dalglish will always
do the right thing by Liverpool.
Liverpool have been through troubled times recently with the
American co-owners being heavily criticised by fans and the team
struggling on the pitch. Dalglish, who has been working as an
ambassador for the club and also helping the youngsters at the
academy in Kirkby, has watched events unfold with increasing concern
at the club he loves.
When the call came to assist the board in their hunt for a successor
for Benítez, who has joined Inter Milan, Dalglish readily offered
his services. Although he has been out of English football for
almost a decade, Dalglish knows many of the current managers. He
would also expect Liverpool to appoint someone only of the very
highest calibre as he feels the fans deserve the very best.
Anybody who has stepped inside Dalglish’s office at Kirkby is
immediately struck by two large photographs of fans on the Kop,
waving their banners and holding their scarves aloft. Anybody who
has spent any time in Dalglish’s company is immediately acquainted
with his desire to serve the Liverpool fans, to re-pay them for the
endless support they gave him on his arrival from Celtic.
Dalglish became manager in 1985, succeeding Joe Fagan in the grim
aftermath of the Heysel disaster. Liverpool were near pariahs at the
time following events in Brussels but Dalglish rebuilt their
reputation, winning the Double in his first season.
His six-year reign brought triumph and tragedy. He constructed one
of the finest attacking teams ever seen in English football, the
1987-88 side of John Barnes, Peter Beardsley and John Aldridge that
mesmerised Anfield. The bond between Dalglish and Liverpool
intensified further during the Hillsborough tragedy.
Dalglish comforted a grieving community, attending funeral after
funeral, including four in one day. He then had the difficult task
of motivating the players to take the field again, as the families
of the Hillsborough victims soon requested, and complete the
He led Liverpool to an emotional FA Cup final victory over Everton
but resigned less than two years later when the stress caught up
He worked elsewhere, notably at Blackburn Rovers, Newcastle and
Celtic, but his real love affair has always been with Liverpool.
reach agreement with Benitez
Inter Milan have reached an agreement with Rafa
Benitez to become their new manager, club president Massimo Moratti
The Serie A giants have been looking for a replacement coach since
Jose Mourinho opted to take on a fresh challenge at Spanish giants
The Portuguese coach departed Giuseppe Meazza at the end of the
2009/10 campaign after guiding Inter to an unprecedented Treble,
which saw them land the Serie A title, Coppa Italia and the UEFA
Once it became apparent that Mourinho was looking to move on,
rumours began circulating as to who his possible replacement might
Spanish coach Benitez was considered to be a leading candidate and
his departure from Liverpool last week opened the door for a switch
Inter quickly identified him as their number one choice for the role
and have pressed ahead with formal negotiations.
Talks have now reached a conclusion and Moratti confirmed that
Benitez has agreed to become Inter's new coach.
"We've got an agreement, we finalised the last details that in any
case weren't important," he told the club's official website.
"Tomorrow (Wednesday) we will say when Rafa Benitez will be
"All we need is a counter-signature. In any case I think Benitez is
not in Italy and will arrive here for the presentation."
Benitez will arrive at Inter fresh from a six-year stint at
Liverpool which saw him land the Champions League crown in 2005 and
the 2006 FA Cup.
He also enjoyed considerable success in his homeland with Valencia
prior to moving to Anfield, winning two Primera Liga titles and the
in Liverpool job
By Harry Harris - ESPN.co.uk - Football
Harry Redknapp has spoken for the first time about
the Liverpool job, and told Soccernet that he is totally committed
to Tottenham Hotspur.
Redknapp has been linked with the job vacated by Rafael Benitez, but
he is focused on matters at White Hart Lane, where he feels settled,
even though he only has one more year left on his contract.
Instead of putting himself in the frame for the Liverpool job,
Redknapp believes that Kenny Dalglish is the best man to revive the
Reds' fortunes and galvanise the players.
In an exclusive interview with Soccernet, Redknapp, who was named
Barclays Manger of the Year having guided Spurs into the Champions
League for the first time, says: "I am not being presumptuous
turning down Liverpool, because I haven't been offered the job and
haven't spoken to anyone about it.
"There is no need, as I have one year left on my contract at
Tottenham and I am not thinking about anything other than being at
White Hart Lane next season. I can tell you that I have not been
offered a new contract, but that doesn't mean I am looking to move
on - far from it.
"I am loyal to Spurs, I want to stay at Spurs and I have a contract
with Spurs, and I'd be happy to sign a new contract at Spurs if I
was offered one, but in any case I have one year on my contract."
On who would be the best man for the vacant Liverpool job, Redknapp
added: "Why not give it to Kenny Dalglish? I am sure he would want
it, and why not? He is Liverpool through and through. He would be a
good man for the job.
"He has experience, he knows exactly what is needed at Liverpool and
the players would love it, especially someone like Steven Gerrard
who would, I am sure, respond to the appointment of Dalglish as
Dalglish could be key
for concerned Anfield stars
Comment by Mark Lawrenson - Liverpool Daily Post
As soon as the season finished and talk began
about Rafael Benitez’s exit, I suggested Kenny Dalglish would be the
best man to step in and fill in the void.
I still believe that to be the case. Although Kenny has been given
the job of helping the board find a new manager, I don’t believe he
needs to rush into it.
In fact, with Sammy Lee still at the club, I think that’s a perfect
duo to help the club through a period of instability.
And it could be the key to persuading some of the club’s star names
to stay at Anfield.
He is the most revered of Liverpool’s former players and has the
influence to pull everyone at the club together.
He has a special bond with the fans – now it’s time to get that with
I think Kenny showing such a willingness to work hard and try to get
the club back on track could prove quite inspirational to the likes
of Steven Gerrard, Fernando Torres and Javier Mascherano.
With no sign to the end of the off-field turmoil, convincing that
duo their futures lie at Anfield will take some doing.
But with Kenny at the helm it sends out exactly the right message.
One of ‘we’re all in this together and we can come through it
instead of abandoning ship’.
And, whoever ends up following Benitez through the exit door from
the backroom staff, as long as Sammy is in that camp, then at least
some of the old Anfield values are very much secure.
There might be an argument that Kenny only doing the job on a
temporary basis wouldn’t persuade a player that there is any
longevity in the arrangement.
But you don’t get ay guarantee of that in the game anyway any more.
I don’t think a permanent appointment would influence a player’s
mindset ay more than a temporary one.
So Liverpool have to look at the best way of ensuring that there
isn’t a mass exodus. The club is at a major crossroads and nobody is
sure of the best way to turn.
So they have to make sure that they pick the right man to steer them
through it in the right direction – and there’s none better than
Whether he wants that responsibility is another matter but I know
his feelings for the club would make it very hard for him to resist
helping them in their hour of need.
Liverpool is still a major attraction for players and having the man
many believe to be their greatest player and ambassador at the helm,
however long it lasts, could buy the club some valuable time and
prevent the on-field set-up going the same way as everything else.
It will be difficult with a lack of investment – but if Kenny can’t
do it nobody can.
for British manager
BBC Sport Online
Liverpool legend Ian St John is calling on the
Anfield board to appoint a British manager.
The ex-Scotland international believes it is time for the Reds to
look closer to home after six-year spells for Gerard Houllier and
St John told BBC Radio Merseyside: "Personally I hope we get a
British manager. We've had over 10 years of foreign managers.
"Take away the night in Istanbul and the whole club seems to have
St John, 71, was signed by legendary Liverpool manager Bill Shankly
He went on to spend 10 seasons on Merseyside, scoring the winning
goal in the 1965 FA Cup final.
The Scot believes it is time for change of culture at Anfield: "The
way the team had been playing in the last couple of seasons I just
felt we had hit the buffers.
"The football that we always went to Anfield to watch was mundane.
"You would get Steven Gerrard or Fernando Torres adding a little bit
of glamour to it, but other than that it just wasn't enjoyable."
After a successful career at Anfield, St John went on to become a
household name to a new generation of football supporters,
co-presenting the Saint & Greavsie programme on ITV with former
Tottenham striker Jimmy Greaves.
He says it was right for the Liverpool board to call time on
Benitez's tenure at Anfield: "Rafa can't really complain - he had
six years and spent a lot of money, despite what everybody says.
"At the end of the six years he didn't have a squad strong enough to
win the Premier League or to finish in the top four."
Rafa 'close' to
three-year Inter deal
Inter president Massimo Moratti has indicated a
deal is imminent to make Rafael Benitez the Serie A club's new head
The Spaniard, who left his post at Liverpool by mutual consent last
Thursday, has been strongly linked with the post after Jose
Mourinho's departure for Real Madrid.
And Moratti told reporters in Italy: "The next few hours could be
decisive. But we must ask (technical director Marco) Branca."
Benitez appears set to take his Anfield assistant Mauricio
Pellegrino, goalkeeping coach Xavi Valero and fitness coach Paco de
Miguel with him to the San Siro, with Italian Amedeo Carboni - who
played under Benitez as a midfielder at Valencia - also likely to be
added to his backroom staff.
Reports in Italy suggest Benitez will sign a three-year deal worth
five million euros per season.
Benitez earned a place in Anfield folklore by guiding Liverpool to
2005 Champions League glory in his first season.
He followed that with FA Cup success in 2006 and another Champions
League final appearance 12 months later. After finishing runners-up
in the Premier League in 2009, many expected a serious title tilt
this year but it failed to materialise.
Early elimination from the Champions League was followed by a
failure to finish in the top four and to re-qualify for Europe's
The 50-year-old had four years remaining on his contract but paid
the price for that seventh-placed finish.
He had previously been linked with both Real and Juventus, who last
month appointed former Sampdoria boss Luigi del Neri as Alberto
Benitez set for
Inter Milan talks
BBC Sport Online
Former Liverpool boss Rafael Benitez is poised to
hold talks with Champions League winners Inter Milan next week.
Inter are looking for a new manager after Jose Mourinho, who also
won Serie A and the Italian Cup last season, left to take over at
Benitez left Liverpool by mutual consent on Thursday after six years
at the helm at Anfield.
"That is the direction and in the next few days we will see and
decide," said Inter president Massimo Moratti.
"I can only speak well of him because he is very good.
"It's also important that he has always done well in Europe: to
continue to get joy from the Champions League is our aim," Moratti
added in an interview with Italian newspaper Corriere dello Sport.
The 50-year-old has a strong track record in European football,
having won the Champions League with Liverpool in 2005 and the Uefa
Cup with Valencia in 2004.
But he would have big shoes to fill at Inter, with Mourinho winning
the league in both seasons he was at the club, not to mention
securing the Champions League and Italian Cup last season.
And before Mourinho's spell at the club, Inter won three consecutive
titles under Roberto Mancini.
Benitez was strongly linked with a move to Juventus, but since his
departure from Anfield he has become the subject of speculation
suggesting a move to the San Siro is imminent.
faces decision day
on Liverpool future
Comment by Paul Wilson - The Observer
It looks like Steven Gerrard is going to have
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
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
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
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
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
Tom Hicks and George Gillett are impeding
the 'fresh start' Liverpool badly needs
Comment by Rory Smith - Telegraph.co.uk
Even before the paperwork had been signed, the
mobile phones of a number of senior figures at Liverpool had started
As lawyers at Anfield were agreeing the final details of the £6
million severance package which would end Rafael Benítez’s six-year
reign as manager, the vultures had started to circle.
Each call brought notification from the agent of another manager
eager to throw his hat into the ring as a contender to succeed the
Spaniard, each conversation designed to help each client gain a
crucial advantage in the race for the most high-profile job likely
to come on the domestic market this summer.
To those conducting the search – Christian Purslow, the club’s
managing director, and Kenny Dalglish, the Academy ambassador whose
name still echoes from the Kop — such enthusiasm, such interest even
before the die was cast is evidence that Liverpool remains the sort
of job no ambitious, self-confident manager can turn down.
It is not hard to see why. Benítez lost his job because he guided
the club to 19 defeats last season on their way to a seventh-place
They were eliminated from the Champions League at the group stage,
knocked out of the FA Cup by Reading. The Spaniard is no tough act
In such circumstances, the breed of man who turns their hand to
management will see only the tantalising prospect of glory. A
manager who rebuilds Liverpool will see his reputation buffed, his
prospects improved and his place in history at a club with a longer
memory than most secured. To the victor, the spoils.
The outstanding favourite, of course, will not have instructed his
agent to make such a phone-call. Roy Hodgson has no need to
advertise his wares. His achievements — most recently at Fulham, but
at various stages on his nomadic journey through the game — speak
for themselves, as do his contacts.
He has already been spoken of inside Anfield as the sort of
statesmanlike, reserved, respected figure who can return a club
which has lost its path to the 'Liverpool Way', that undefinable set
of values which once made it great.
His style is diametrically opposed to that of his predecessor, on
and off the pitch, his taste for politicking absent, just what is
required at a crucial, sensitive juncture in Liverpool’s history.
Hodgson seems an ideal candidate to offer Liverpool the “fresh
start” which Martin Broughton, the club’s chairman, insisted was
required in the statement which confirmed Benítez’s exit.
Yet, regardless of who should follow in the Spaniard’s footsteps,
there can be no fresh start for the club while Tom Hicks and George
Gillett remain in situ at Anfield.
There will be no end to the concerns of the Royal Bank of Scotland,
increasingly frustrated with the Americans’ apparent unrealistic
asking price of an asset they have vowed to sell, and there will be
no end to the concerns of the club’s most valuable assets, the faces
of its quest for worldwide monetisation that the £237 million debt
the Americans have laden onto Liverpool precludes competing in the
transfer market and thus on the pitch.
Whoever the new manager should be, Steven Gerrard, the new England
captain, remains undecided on his future, while Fernando Torres,
Yossi Benayoun and Javier Mascherano are similarly unsettled. They
will decide whether they stick or twist not because of who is
sitting in the dugout but because of how much money the new manager
is granted to spend to bring in more players of their own class.
Should they leave, the club’s supporters will watch with interest
how much of the £130 million or so their sales may raise is pumped
back into the squad.
It was that issue which proved particularly thorny in the
discussions between Benítez and his board which convinced the club
to offer him a severance deal. It may be that his insistence that he
be granted all funds raised cost him a job he desperately hoped to
There can be no guarantees, at this stage, that a new manager will
be offered different rules of engagement to his predecessor.
Benítez’s reign has already been written off in some quarters as an
anticlimax — or worse — which endured for so long only by virtue of
the lingering gratitude felt by supporters for the miracle of
Should there be no change in the root cause of Liverpool’s decline,
though, in two, five or 10 years’ time, it may have started to look
like the dying breaths of a golden age.
No manager, no matter how talented, will be able to reverse the
decline which seems inexorable under the club’s current ownership.
Should Dalglish and Purslow, too, endure, they may find that when it
comes to replace the replacement, their phones lie silent.
Dalglish the perfect man to lead
Liverpool's search for new manager
By Henry Winter - Telegraph.co.uk
Liverpool could not have chosen a better person to
scout the next Liverpool manager than Kenny Dalglish.
Those who claim he has been out of the game too long ignore that
this is a man obsessed with football, who watches countless
televised matches and was a fixture in the Anfield directors' box
last season. Doing what is best for Liverpool comes as naturally to
Dalglish as breathing.
Having played under three giants of the dugout in Jock Stein, Bob
Paisley and Alex Ferguson, Dalglish knows the art and science of
Having steered Liverpool and Blackburn Rovers to the title, Dalglish
is perfectly attuned to the qualities required to make a good
manager, although the modern era demands a sharper media savviness
than the Scot has always shown.
As he ponders how to reinvigorate this distinguished club's
immediate fortunes, Dalglish should also consider putting in place
deep foundations, almost sanctioning a return to the old Boot Room
philosophy of nurturing from within.
One candidate immediately presents himself, a leader without armband
in the dressing room whom respected people within Anfield believe
has the potential to manage there one day.
Jamie Carragher is getting "badged up'', in dressing room parlance,
having completed the Uefa B work and aiming for his A licence next
He willingly admits that one of the reasons why he returned from
self-imposed England exile was to absorb lessons from Fabio Capello,
"the standout manager in world football over the past 10 years''.
Talking before England flew out to South Africa, Carragher added:
"Of course I will pick things up from Mr Capello.''
He has worked under Rafa Benítez and Gerard Houllier, has seen at
close hand the pressure that England managers suffer and yet he is
undaunted by the myriad challenges of management. Some observers
will argue that Carragher needs to move away, to learn the ropes at
a smaller club but there is another route.
If Liverpool appointed somebody like Roy Hodgson, bringing some
welcome calm, then at some point Carragher could become involved on
the coaching staff.
He's 32, having his testimonial on September 4 and probably has two
seasons left at Premier League level. Simply by being in close
proximity to Hodgson, even Martin O'Neill or some such experienced
successor to Benítez, Carragher would inevitably accelerate his
journey from pupil to master.
Whatever road he takes into management, Carragher's life will always
be intertwined with Liverpool. "I'm just so emotionally involved in
it,'' Carragher added. Just like Dalglish, Liverpool's managerial
kingmaker who must also nurture a prince.
Masch future in
Liverpool midfielder Javier Mascherano has
admitted his future is in doubt following the departure of Rafa
Benitez from Anfield.
Benitez's six-year spell on Merseyside came to an end on Thursday
afternoon after a reported £6million severance package was agreed
with the club's board.
Now Argentina international Mascherano, who was strongly linked with
a move to Barcelona last summer, admits he is unsure over his next
The combative midfielder, who was brought to Anfield from West Ham
in January 2007, has seen discussions over a new deal stall with
contract negotiations put on hold.
"Would I follow Benitez? I don't know," he said, with a shrug. "At
the moment I really know little about my future.
"But of course with Benitez at Liverpool I experienced three
incredible years. His football is my football."
Mascherano believes the former Reds manager would be the ideal man
to replace Jose Mourinho at Inter Milan.
Reports suggest Inter president Massimo Moratti is set to meet
Benitez in Sardinia and a deal could be sealed in the next 48 hours.
It will be daunting to step into Mourinho's shoes after the former
Chelsea manager steered the Nerazzurri to the UEFA Champions League
crown before leaving for Real Madrid, but Mascherano believes his
former boss has the perfect credentials.
"Only Benitez could take the place of a coach like Mourinho," said
the Argentina international. "He is a great coach. He has charisma,
personality, a winning mentality.
"Moreover, he will find himself brilliantly in Italy because of the
tactical game. Rafa studies everything on the table and directs the
team from the bench like an orchestra conductor.
"Inter have made a good choice. After Mourinho, he is the only man
capable of continuing Inter's winning run."
unlikely to join
Liverpool as manager
By Nabil Hassan - BBC Sport Online
New Turkey boss Guus Hiddink is unlikely to become
Liverpool's next manager, according to the Dutchman's agent, Cees
Liverpool are searching for a new boss after Rafael Benitez's exit
on Thursday with former boss Kenny Dalglish charged with finding his
"Guus has shown over the years that he is loyal to agreements that
he signed," van Nieuwenhuizen told BBC Sport.
"There is no reason today why he would change such behaviour."
Benitez left Anfield by mutual consent on Thursday after six years
in charge, paying the price for a season that saw the club make an
early exit from the Champions League and finish seventh in the
Dalglish, along with managing director Christian Purslow, has drawn
up a shortlist of names to replace the Spaniard.
It is reported that Fulham manager Roy Hodgson and Bayern Munich
boss Louis van Gaal are among the front runners, but Hiddink, Aston
Villa's Martin O'Neill, former Manchester City chief Mark Hughes,
Croatia's Slaven Bilic and Galatasary's Frank Rijkaard have also
been touted as potential successors to Benitez.
However, Hiddink has only just joined Turkey as their national coach
having left his post as manager or Russia.
And according to his agent, the 63-year-old former Chelsea manager
has also turned down an offer to replace Jose Mourinho as manager of
European champions Inter Milan.
"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," added van Nieuwenhuizen.
"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."
Dalglish, who won three league titles as manager of Liverpool, has
himself been backed to take over the Anfield reins by several former
players including keeper Bruce Grobbelaar and midfielder Jamie
Hughes, 46, would provide Liverpool with an attractive,
compensation-free alternative, with the former Wales boss a free
agent following his departure from Manchester City in December 2009.
Benitez is reported to have received a multi-million pound severance
deal to leave Anfield and with Liverpool £351m in debt the club will
be hoping to avoid paying out more money in compensation.
A source close to Hughes declined to comment on speculation linking
him to the post, but one man ruling himself in is former England and
Manchester City manager Sven-Goran Eriksson.
The 62-year-old Swede, who is currently in charge of the Ivory Coast
at the World Cup, 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. It is every manager's dream to manage
Eriksson has told how he used to watch Liverpool games on television
at home in Sweden and how he also visited Anfield when he was
learning his way as a coach.
"My father was also a Liverpool supporter and every Saturday we
would watch an English match on television. It was the highlight of
"Liverpool matches were televised quite regularly and we would cheer
them on. They have always been my team and nothing has changed."
Former West Ham defender Bilic has two years left on his contract as
national boss of Croatia, but has openly talked of his desire to one
day manage in England.
The 41-year-old's brother and agent, Domagoj, told BBC Sport: "It is
true that one day Slaven would like to manage in the Premier League
and there are not many clubs bigger than Liverpool.
"It is always an honour to be linked to a big club but at this
moment in time to discuss Slaven joining Liverpool is frivolous.
"An offer has not come - not yet anyway - so we will not discuss it.
But if any offer does come we will of course discuss it."
Former Holland and Barcelona manager Rijkaard is another who is
believed be on Liverpool's shortlist but his agent, Perry Overmeers,
has moved to distance his client from the speculation.
"Rumours linking Frank to Liverpool are just that, rumours,"
Overmeers told BBC Sport. "Frank is the type of person who likes to
fulfil his obligations and he has one year left on his contract with
"There has been no contact from Liverpool."
And according to reports in Spain, sources close to former Real
Madrid coach Manuel Pellegrini suggest the Chilean would be
interested in becoming Liverpool's new boss.
Eriksson reveals dream to manage Reds
Former England boss Sven-Goran Eriksson has
revealed he grew up supporting Liverpool and has a "dream" to manage
the Premier League side.
The Swede was shocked Rafael Benitez left the club but he hopes to
be in contention to take over at Anfield once his short stint in
charge of the Ivory Coast comes to an end after the World Cup.
Eriksson told The Sun: "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 Benitez had left. Would I want
to be the manager of Liverpool? It is every manager's dream to
Eriksson has told how he used to watch Liverpool games on TV at home
in Sweden and how he also visited Anfield when he was learning his
way as a coach.
"My father was also a Liverpool supporter and every Saturday we
would watch an English match on television. It was the highlight of
"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."
Liverpool FC must now show Gerrard
and Torres proof of their ambition
Comment by David Randles - Liverpool Echo
So where do Liverpool go from here?
Perhaps, more importantly, where do the club’s players go?
While Rafael Benitez’s departure will at least remove one sizeable
thorn from the sides of owners Tom Hicks and George Gillett,
Liverpool are far from out of the woods.
In fact, it could be about to get a lot pricklier.
With debts totalling a staggering £351m and little sign of new
investment any time soon, Benitez may be slightly relieved with the
escape route offered to him this week.
Departure by mutual consent is so often the Liverpool Way and gives
all concerned the chance to maintain a level of dignity.
The Liverpool Way has also been to try and keep hold of the club’s
There have been notable exceptions, of course.
While more recently Steve McManaman and Michael Owen had differing
fortunes at Real Madrid after opting to leave Anfield, it was Kevin
Keegan’s decision to join Hamburg at the peak of his powers having
just won the European Cup, whereas Ian Rush joined Juventus to
‘better myself and secure the financial future of my family.’
In the meantime, the arrival of a certain Kenny Dalglish and John
Aldridge meant mssrs Keegan and Rush weren’t missed for too long.
Now ponder the unthinkable prospect of either Steven Gerrard or
Fernando Torres following Benitez out of the door this summer.
What are the chances of their absences going unnoticed for too long?
And what are the prospects of unearthing a couple of replacements in
the Dalglish/Aldridge mould, assuming replacements would be sought?
Bearing in mind the dire financial situation at Anfield, how much of
the money raised by the potential sale of either player would be
reinvested on squad strengthening?
Indeed, it was Torres’ absence last season that contributed to the
mess Liverpool found itself in as they desperately tried to cling on
to the Champions League place that was effectively forfeited before
Not that you can blame Torres for one second for Benitez’s departure
this week, but it is worth asking would the Spaniard still have his
name on the manager’s door had his star striker been fit more often?
The counter-argument to that is would Benitez have fallen on his
sword if he’d ensured he had more ample cover for Torres than David
As has become the norm at Liverpool these days, the ifs, buts and
maybes will continue long into the summer. And so will the stories
surrounding the club’s two star attractions.
With Chelsea apparently circling around Torres, some faith was
restored by the words of the player’s agent recently who pledged his
client’s intention to help Liverpool try and reclaim their Champions
“For the moment, I can assure fans that Fernando will continue at
Liverpool next season,” said Jose Antonio Peton.
“Everything is down to Liverpool’s attitude but for the time being
Fernando is happy at the club and has a good contract.”
While the pessimists – and Carlo Ancelotti – might dwell on Peton’s
carefully chosen words ‘for the moment’ and ‘for the time being’,
failure to finish in the top four next year would surely hasten his
And who could blame him?
Perish the thought, but who could blame Gerrard if he is assessing
his position right now?
With the Liverpool captain insisting ‘I won't think about my future
or think about what is going to happen to me at Liverpool until
after the World Cup,’ his words have given Real Madrid mouthpiece
Marca the green light to link Gerrard with a move to the Bernabeu.
New Real boss, Jose Mourinho has long been and admirer.
The former Chelsea manager will also know Gerrard’s current
situation is wholly different to when he first tried to tempt the
midfielder to Stamford Bridge five years ago.
Back then, Liverpool were on the crest of a wave with the promise of
going places after winning the Champions League in Benitez’s first
Now managerless and rudderless, as things stand today, the club, the
team and therefore Gerrard and Torres, are years away from
revisiting such glory.
Texan Hicks has said the club’s prized pair are not for sale.
They won’t be kicking off the 2010/11 season in the new stadium that
was promised either.
The best way to encourage Gerrard and Torres that their futures lie
at Anfield is to match their ambitions on the pitch.
But generous investment has not been a theme of the Hicks and
If the likes of Yossi Benayoun, even Javier Mascherano, wish to
leave, they can be replaced.
Gerrard and Torres can’t.
Neither player’s future was ever tied to Benitez remaining at the
club. Far from it.
However, both are known to harbour similar concerns about the
direction of the club to those held by their now former manager. And
look what happened to him.
should sell Torres, Gerrard
Liverpool icon John Barnes says the club should
sell Steven Gerrard and Fernando Torres if they're unsettled.
Anfield legend Barnes says anyone who wants to go should be allowed
to - even if it means losing one of the Kop idols.
Barnes said: "Liverpool don't want Gerrard and Torres to go - but if
they don't want to be there, let them move on.
"The fans would have to understand that and still get behind the
"Any player who doesn't want to be at Liverpool should go... no
matter who they are.
"Look at this history of the club, Kevin Keegan went and people were
worried but they got stronger. Kenny Dalglish was a legend but he
retired and left and they've gone on and won trophies since then.
"I think there has been too much focus on Gerrard and Torres. They
are important players but that affected a lot of the others in the
"The more we focus on them, the more we believe we can't compete
Kenny Dalglish's return to Liverpool
signifies a reassertion of Boot Room values
Comment by Kevin Garside - Telegraph.co.uk
The return to the Anfield frontline of Kenny
Dalglish is the instinctive response of a club seeking a return to
traditional values. In a sense it represents the end of the cultural
flirtation with continental methods and the reassertion of the Boot
It is not that the foreign model has exhausted its appeal per se,
only that it is no longer de rigeur, no longer the default option.
The burning of the Stars and Stripes at the gates of Anfield more
obviously demonstrates the Kop’s disaffection with the club’s
debt-ridden American ownership. It can be seen also as an attempt to
reclaim its identity.
Somewhere along the line in the rush to establish itself as a global
force in the new world of football brands something of Liverpool’s
essence has been lost. This was always a club that represented a
community, the Liverpool family, a unique port city in the north
west of England with a strong sense of self, the Scouse nation.
The arrival of a perceptive coach from Spain was initially no threat
to the institution. Indeed the club appealed to Rafa Benitez
precisely because of the footballing traditions built over a century
and developed into a European powerhouse by Bill Shankly and Bob
Paisley. Touchingly Mrs Benitez would always join the chorus of the
club’s anthem before kick-off. Montse will never walk alone as a
The arrival of American speculators in the shape of George Gillett
and Tom Hicks was the prime mover in shifting the landscape and the
resetting of the club along franchise lines. Liverpool is not a
Disney construction, a dream conjured from the imagination, but a
proud metropolis hewn from the efforts of the working man, a dynamic
metropolis replete with grandeur and faults.
When Liverpool was chosen as a European city of culture is was a
celebration of the unique contribution it has made to the arts and
sport; a baramoter of the importance of the Beatles, of Keegan, Rush
and Dalglish of Willy Russell, Linda la Plant and Alan Bleasdale and
yes, of Jimmy Tarbuck and Cilla Black, for whom humour as always
The uncertainties surrounding ownership and finances and the failure
to qualify for the Champions League are likely to reduce the list of
blue chip applicants queuing to replace Benitez. This means
Liverpool might have to look beyond the marquee candidates like Guus
Hiddink or fashionable appointments such as Jurgen Klinsmann. It
might even force them to look at enterprising British coaches.
Martin O’Neill and Roy Hodgson have been mentioned. But what about
an aspiring young coach like Alex McLeish, who has demonstrated the
ability at Birmingham to mould a team around the sound footballing
principles demanded at Anfield? And he speaks the language of
Shankly and Dalglish.
A corrective brush is sweeping through the club. The expansive
franchise model has failed. A new period of austerity beckons, but
at least the club has a chance to recover its soul. And in Dalglish,
the right man to start that process. Long term getting that right is
more important than retaining the services of Steven Gerrard and
Anfield’s civil war
Liverpool Daily Post
In the end, it was the one fight Rafael Benitez
The Spaniard's rollercoaster reign at Liverpool, from the highs of
Istanbul to the lows of the recent failure to qualify for the
Champions League, drew to an inevitable close yesterday.
But don't be fooled by talk of the 50-year-old leaving “by mutual
consent”, as was the official line from Anfield.
By all intents and purposes, Benitez was sacked – pushed out by a
board that either couldn't or wouldn't give him the assurances he
needed to move the club forward.
Similar to Liverpool supporters no longer trusting George Gillett
and Tom Hicks, so the American owners – guided by managing director
Christian Purslow – no longer trusted the Spaniard.
Perhaps Benitez was his own worst enemy, the stubborn streak that
runs through his very core both a great strength and an ultimate
Don't forget, the reason Benitez joined Liverpool in the first place
back in the summer of 2004 was after losing patience with Valencia
over the recruitment of players.
And that obdurate nature meant the Spaniard was forever at
loggerheads with people inside the corridors of power at Anfield,
internal politics that started to consume his time and attention.
Battles became increasingly regular, with Benitez always winning.
Paco Ayesteran and Steve Heighway both exited, while a long-term
struggle with Rick Parry ended when the chief executive finally quit
It meant Benitez got the power he craved over transfers and the
Academy. So it was particularly poor timing that Liverpool responded
with a fourth successive campaign without a trophy and their worst
Premier League finish in 11 years.
For Hicks and Gillett, it was maybe the opportunity they had been
waiting for. From the moment it emerged Jurgen Klinsmann had been
approached as a possible replacement in November 2007, Benitez
treated the Americans with great suspicion, the feeling mutual
despite the Spaniard being handed a five-year contract less than 15
Maybe the owners had grown tired of Benitez's flirtations with other
clubs, from Real Madrid to Juventus, whose interest earlier this
year set the wheels in motion for the Spaniard's departure.
And maybe it was a natural conclusion. Benitez's distant nature with
players meant he was always open to criticism over his
man-management style, but while rumours of outright dressing-room
unrest miss the mark, there is some truth there was growing
resistance among the squad to the Spaniard's unconventional methods.
Already the great bugbears of Benitez's reign are being trotted out.
The rotation policy. The zonal marking. The strange team selections.
The tendency to substitute Fernando Torres every other week. An
endless stream of under-par signings.
There is an element of truth to them all, most notably the last
point with players shipped in and out by Benitez at an alarming
At the start of this season, just Jamie Carragher and Steven Gerrard
remained from the Champions League triumph only five years earlier,
while the likes of Robbie Keane and Craig Bellamy didn't hang around
long for varying reasons.
For every Torres, there was an Andriy Voronin. For every Javier
Mascherano, a Damien Plessis. For every Daniel Agger, a Josemi.
Yet their respective values are not comparable. You only get what
you pay for, and Benitez was not slow to move on players who do the
It proves quality costs money – and at no point was the Spaniard
able to realistically compete with Manchester United and Chelsea in
the transfer market, with even Tottenham Hotspur and Manchester City
eclipsing his spending power in recent years.
And while Arsenal didn't have the same cash to splash, they had the
stability of an already established winning team and a brand new
stadium – something that never happened for Benitez, despite
promises to the contrary.
His successes came early on, a Carling Cup final appearance in his
first season followed by the memorable European Cup triumph in
Istanbul. The next season came the UEFA Super Cup and the FA Cup,
with another Champions League final in 2007.
But Liverpool's Holy Grail, the Premier League title, remained out
of reach. They came closest when runners-up in 2009, which made this
season's abject failure even harder to take.
Nevertheless, Benitez enjoyed almost universal support from the
match-going Liverpool followers. One curious aspect of his tenure,
though, is the further from Anfield you travelled, the more
vociferous and numerous the critics were.
Benitez embraced the culture of both the city and the club, speaking
for the fans with his amusing feuds involving Sir Alex Ferguson and
Sam Allardyce, happy to expose the disconcerting chumminess between
a certain faction of Premier League managers.
Sure, while Benitez was entitled to a £16million severance fee, that
he settled on a figure nearer £6m suggests he is hardly walking away
from Anfield a pauper.
But Liverpool will certainly be a poorer place without him, the main
dissenting voice to the current calamitous ownership now silenced.
Indeed, that Inter Milan – the reigning European Champions – is his
most likely next destination suggests Benitez might know something
about this management lark.
So what happens now?
Liverpool say they are in no hurry to name a replacement, but that's
hardly a surprise given the snail's pace at which the hierarchy
appear to move these days.
Anfield legend Kenny Dalglish, who along with Purslow will head the
search for a new manager, has been mentioned as an interim
replacement. But Dalglish hasn't managed in more than a decade, a
time during which the game's landscape has hugely changed.
The rest of the names will hardly appeal to supporters, even
allowing for Roy Hodgson's impressive success at Fulham this season.
Mark Hughes is too Mancunian while Martin O'Neill's credentials
crumble under the gentlest of probings.
Guus Hiddink has already performed one impressive fire-fighting role
at Chelsea, but such is the state of flux at Anfield at present, why
on earth would any established manager risk tarnishing his
reputation by inheriting such a mess?
Perhaps the most telling revelation during the past few days is the
understanding Benitez does not believe the club can recover from its
precarious position while under the controversial ownership of Hicks
He is right. But Benitez is now gone. Mascherano, Gerrard and Torres
would not be forgiven for following suit. Yet Hicks and Gillett
Benitez will always have Istanbul, and for that the club and
supporters should be eternally grateful.
But anyone who believes Liverpool's problems are now easing is
sorely, sorely mistaken.
Grobbelaar: Reds should pick Dalglish
Liverpool legend Kenny Dalglish has been backed to
succeed Rafael Benitez as manager by former Reds goalkeeper Bruce
Dalglish has been tasked with finding a successor to Benitez, who
left by mutual consent, alongside managing director Christian
But the Scot - the last Liverpool manager to deliver a league title
to Anfield in 1990 - is among the bookmakers' favourites for the
And Grobbelaar believes Dalglish could be the stabilising influence
Liverpool now require.
"I think there is only one man for the job and that is Kenny
Dalglish," Grobbelaar told BBC Radio Five Live.
"I believe if he didn't have the appetite for the game, he wouldn't
be at Anfield every week, week-in, week-out.
"I think maybe now is the time he can turn the tide and take the
club, stabilise it, with the fans, make sure everything gets on
track and take the club where it should be.
"We were in seventh position last season, this season he's got to
stabilise it and put it back on track."
Dalglish was installed as player-boss in 1985 and delivered three
league titles and two FA Cup triumphs.
He also presided over a difficult period surrounding the
Hillsborough disaster, the emotional toll of which contributed to
his departure in 1991.
Grobbelaar believes Dalglish has the kudos required to take the role
"As a manager he'll be respected and if fresh players come in, he'll
be able to lead them," added Grobbelaar.
It will take
to rebuild Liverpool
London Evening Standard
Alan Hansen has warned the new Liverpool manager
faces years of rebuilding following Rafael Benitez's departure.
Benitez's six-year stay at Anfield ended by mutual consent
yesterday, with managing director Christian Purslow and Liverpool
legend Kenny Dalglish - the manager when they last won the league
title in 1990 - leading the search for the new man.
But Hansen, who won eight league titles and three European Cups
during his 13 years on Merseyside, believes the Reds are arguably in
their worst state for over 50 years and the squad is weaker than
when Benitez succeeded Gerard Houllier as boss six years ago.
Writing in his column in the Daily Telegraph, Hansen said: "I would
imagine that the board will have a good idea who they want to bring
in, but I don't have a preference, other than wanting somebody who
will buy well and who will take the job under no illusions about the
challenge he faces.
"Whoever comes in faces a mammoth task. You could be looking at
three to four years before Liverpool get to where the club should
Benitez's most costly moves were in the transfer market, according
The Scot added: "Benitez made too many mistakes with too many
players. In recent seasons, he hasn't got any right beyond Fernando
Torres, Javier Mascherano and, possibly, Glen Johnson.
"He has spent too much money on average players and we are now
seeing the fruits of that."
Is Liverpool FC manager’s job
a cherished title or a poisoned chalice?
Comment by David Prentice - Liverpool Echo
The Liverpool manager’s job used to be passed down
like a cherished family heirloom. Shankly, to Paisley. Paisley to
Fagan. Fagan to Dalglish.
Even when Dalglish’s departure took the club by surprise in 1991,
there was still a trusted family member ready to step into the
breach in the shape of Graeme Souness.
And Roy Evans’ accession after Souness’ failed regime simply
restored the promotion from within policy.
Even when Gerard Houllier departed it was a sacking conducted with
class and dignity.
The Frenchman posed for pictures on the Anfield pitch before
speaking with as much pride as pathos about his exit.
That family feel changed when the Reds looked abroad to appoint a
manager in 2004.
And six years on the Liverpool manager’s job is now treated with all
the reverence of a tatty old hand-me-down.
See how the current custodians of the club value the role of Reds
While chief executive Rick Parry exited Anfield with a £4m pay-off,
Rafa Benitez has been reportedly offered a million pounds less.
At least he was offered a pay-off this time.
In November 2007 his job was hawked around to an unemployed German
back-packing his way around the USA.
These are testing times for all Liverpool fans, even those who
wanted Benitez out.
For fans who remember the seamless transitions from manager to
manager, it’s deeply distressing.
But Liverpool do have it within their remit to restore some
semblance of sanity.
They can turn the clock back for the future – temporarily at least.
A Kenny Dalglish and Sammy Lee double act may raise some eyebrows.
After all both were sacked from their last managerial posts – at
Celtic and Bolton respectively, while Dalglish’s last managerial
experience was a full decade ago and ended in ignominy at Celtic.
But both know the club.
Both know its traditions – and both would be accepted instantly by
fans disgusted by the administration of the club under its American
With the club currently undergoing a takeover, it would also offer a
convenient temporary solution, allowing new owners – whenever they
may materialise – to make their own appointment without another
multi-million pay-off of another unwanted manager burdening the club
with even more debt.
Few men can boast the experience and worldly wisdom of Dalglish, few
coaches have the enthusiasm and passion for his club of Sammy Lee.
And there may even be an unexpected bonus in their appointment.
If Steven Gerrard’s head is being turned by Real Madrid, perhaps an
opportunity to work with a man for whom he has huge regard –
arguably the only man ahead of him in Anfield’s pantheon of all-time
greats – may turn it back again.
Judging by the noises coming out of Madrid that could be a long
But even more crucially, Liverpool needs to go back to its roots.
There is divisive disharmony between the Reds and its fans at
Witness last night’s protest at Anfield, the website message boards
and the angry phone-ins.
Kenny and Sammy could be the bridge to bring them back on board
Hodgson tops Liverpool's list
after Benítez agrees exit
By Andy Hunter - guardian.co.uk
Kenny Dalglish is to lead the search for Rafael
Benítez's successor as Liverpool manager, with Roy Hodgson and
Martin O'Neill among the frontrunners.
Benítez accepted a severance payoff worth a maximum £6m from
Liverpool's co-owners, Tom Hicks and George Gillett, today, to end a
six-year reign that polarised opinion at Anfield.
Dalglish, the revered former Liverpool player and manager and now
club ambassador, will assist the managing director, Christian
Purslow, in the pursuit of a manager who can restore Liverpool's
Champions League status on a limited budget and convince leading
players such as Steven Gerrard, Fernando Torres and Javier
Mascherano not to quit Anfield.
Despite the uncertainty surrounding Liverpool over players and the
future ownership of the club, with Hicks and Gillett struggling to
find a buyer willing to meet their £600m-£800m price, Anfield
officials insist they will not rush a decision and can install a
The leading candidate at present is Hodgson, who has many admirers
at Anfield with his European pedigree and recent success at Fulham.
The 62-year-old former Internazionale, Switzerland and Blackburn
Rovers manager is on a 12-month rolling contract at Craven Cottage
and Liverpool are confident he would be receptive to their advances,
despite insisting he was fully committed to Fulham after last
month's Europa League final defeat to Atlético Madrid.
Another Premier League manager under consideration is O'Neill,
although any approach to Aston Villa would be fraught with
complications for Liverpool. The Villa owner, Randy Lerner, recently
announced the 58-year-old would not be leaving the club for Anfield
or any other destination this summer and the Midlanders' stance has
not altered. The Villa board is also believed to be confident that
problems on and off the field at Liverpool would dissuade O'Neill
from starting anew on Merseyside.
Dalglish himself has also been mooted as a possible interim
appointment, 19 years after the stresses of the job prompted his
departure as Liverpool manager, but it is understood moves for
Hodgson and O'Neill take precedence over what would be a remarkable
return for the Scot.
Benítez's departure was confirmed this afternoon following a further
round of talks between Liverpool directors and the Spaniard's agent,
Manuel García Quilón. The position of the former Valencia and now
Liverpool manager was made untenable yesterday when, following
negotiations between Benítez and the new club chairman, Martin
Broughton, the Anfield board offered him a compromise fee of £3m to
leave with immediate effect.
Under the terms of the five-year contract signed only last March,
Benítez would have been entitled to £16m if sacked by Liverpool this
summer. Instead, he agreed to go with an initial £3m severance
payment plus the guarantee of a further £3m spread over future
dates. It is unknown whether the outspoken critic of the financial
restrictions in place at Anfield has signed a confidentiality clause
as part of the deal, but Benítez is now free to take a job without
Liverpool demanding a compensation fee.
Benítez, an adversary of José Mourinho during their time in the
Premier League, could replace the new Real Madrid coach at
Internazionale. The president of the reigning European champions,
Massimo Moratti, today insisted: "There is nothing new to add at
this stage." An Inter director, Gabriele Oriali, however, admitted
Benítez is under consideration. "Benítez has a certain affinity with
Inter fans. He is very appealing to us," Oriali said. "He has
already given us great joy, namely the 2005 Champions League win
against Milan. Who does not remember Istanbul? We like him a lot.
But the decision will be made by our president, Massimo Moratti."
Liverpool insist there is no timescale on the process to install a
replacement for Benítez, and chairman Broughton claimed the decision
to dispense with the European Cup winning coach stemmed from the
disappointments of last season. "Rafa will forever be part of
Liverpool folklore after bringing home the Champions League
following the epic final in Istanbul," he said, "but after a
disappointing season both parties felt a fresh start would be best
for all concerned."
News of Benítez's departure, officially "by mutual consent",
provoked an angry protest outside Anfield tonight, where hundreds of
Liverpool supporters voiced their support for their former manager
and outrage at the ownership of Hicks and Gillett.
Benítez, who is on holiday in Sardinia, said: "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."
US flags in demonstration
By Rory Smith - Telegraph.co.uk
Liverpool supporters turned their ire on the
club’s managing director Christian Purslow on Thursday night as more
than 500 demonstrated at Anfield, calling for his dismissal and
burning American flags, a direct message to his employers Tom Hicks
and George Gillett.
The spontaneous demonstration, organised through internet forums,
Facebook and Twitter in the aftermath of reports on Wednesday that
manager Rafael Benitez was close to leaving the club “by mutual
consent,” began outside the Kop at 6pm.
Organisers insisted the aim of the protest was not to safeguard
Benitez’s job, but to indicate to Hicks and Gillett, who have laden
Liverpool with £351 million of debt, that no decision of theirs as
the club’s owners will be welcomed.
The roles of both Purslow and chairman Martin Broughton in the
dismissal of Benitez has concerned Liverpool fans.
Both men were ostensibly brought in to secure investment in the
club, but Purslow remains in situ almost a year on, while
Broughton’s initial remit was a non-executive one, and he has made
it clear he is not involved in the day-to-day running of the club,
yet it was his name which appeared on the statement which confirmed
the Spaniard’s departure.
The Rafa Years
By Paul Hassall - LFC Official Website
He was hailed as our Spanish messiah, a genial
tactician who restored our reputation as one of Europe's biggest
clubs and led us to one of the greatest triumphs in our history.
But after a six-year reign of cup glory, league frustration and
rotation, Rafael Benitez Maudes' hopes of leading Liverpool to a
record-breaking 19th League Championship were brought to an end
following a disappointing 2009-10 campaign in which the team lost a
total of 19 matches.
The Spaniard's first year in England had climaxed like a fairytale,
one that was capped by a European achievement that will ensure his
tenure will be immortalised and cherished in the annals of Anfield
For while even the late, great Bill Shankly took time to establish
Liverpool as a force, Benitez made an almost immediate impact,
shrugging off the disappointment of a fifth-place finish in the
Premiership to defy the odds and lead the Reds to a fifth European
To say his legend can be summed up in six minutes would be to
belittle his other achievements, but those few precious moments that
followed half-time on Wednesday, May 25, 2005, were undoubtedly the
A wave of optimism carried Liverpool into Rafa's second season and
although the Reds secured a Super Cup win over CSKA Moscow, a
fixture pile-up as a result of a series of Champions League
qualifiers and poor Premiership performances saw them struggle early
A run of one defeat in 18 matches, in which they set a new club
record of 11 consecutive clean sheets, got the Reds back on track,
culminating in a third-place finish which at the time saw us notch
up our highest points tally since the inauguration of the Premier
There was also another final to look forward to. With more than a
little sense of déjà vu, the Reds overcame West Ham on penalties to
claim the FA Cup and a third trophy under Rafa in just two seasons.
The Spaniard had certainly shown he had the Midas touch, following
on from his success at Valencia where he had a developed a
reputation as one of Europe's finest coaches.
However, there were still doubts over his understanding of the
English game overall, with many supporters and pundits suggesting
his rotation policy would continue to hinder Liverpool's bid to end
their long wait for the League Championship.
This concern was perhaps enhanced by our start to the 2006-07
season, with the frustration of yet another disappointing
Premiership campaign providing a stark contrast to the confident
swagger the side had begun to display in the Champions League.
European Champions Barcelona stood in the way in the knockout stage,
but Rafa and co produced one the performances of the season to
clinch a famous 2-1 win in the Nou Camp and lay the foundations for
progress to the next round.
After overcoming PSV and Chelsea respectively, the final in Athens
would be another repeat, with AC Milan gaining revenge for 2005.
The arrival of Fernando Torres for a record fee was a firm statement
of intent ahead of 2007-08, and with his strongest group of players
since taking charge, Benitez made his best ever start in the
Barclays Premier League.
The Reds marched to a run of 14 league matches unbeaten but saw
their title hopes derailed by a series of disappointing draws.
A shock FA Cup defeat at home to Barnsley heaped further pressure on
the Reds boss and a parting of the ways seemed likely before an
impressive Champions League victory over Inter Milan proved the
catalyst for an end of season surge.
A 4-2 triumph in an all-English quarter-final second-leg at home to
Arsenal had supporters dreaming of a third European final in four
seasons, but this time it would be Chelsea's turn to advance to
A second year without a trophy had raised the heat on Benitez
heading into the 2008-09 campaign, but if it hadn't been for
injuries to Steven Gerrard and Fernando Torres, a partnership that
had terrorised defences home and abroad, the Reds could easily have
finished the season as champions after losing just two league
Highlights would include league doubles over both Manchester United
and Chelsea, with the 4-1 mauling of Alex Ferguson's men at Old
Trafford a particularly sweet moment for fans, players and coaching
The Red Devils would go on to close out the championship but
Liverpool kept winning right until the end with 10 victories from
our last 11 league matches. It ensured we finished the campaign by
setting a new personal Barclays Premier League best of 86 points.
Expectation was higher than ever heading into 2009-10, but all was
not well in the Liverpool camp.
Xabi Alonso's on-off transfer to Real Madrid was the major theme of
a disappointing pre-season schedule and when the Spaniard did
finally make the move to the Bernabeu, Benitez's decision to fill
the void with Roma's injured midfielder, Alberto Aquilani left many
The opening day defeat at Tottenham had proved to be a sign of
things to come and once again the injuries to Torres and Gerrard
would have a huge bearing on results.
By November any thoughts of a title challenge were over and a group
stage exit from the Champions League threatened to completely derail
Rumours of disharmony within the squad and speculation over his own
future did little to raise the team's morale and a shock FA Cup
replay defeat at home to Championship strugglers Reading left
Benitez on the brink.
All hopes of ending the season with a trophy were ended by Diego
Forlan's crucial away goal in the Europa League semi-final against
Atletico Madrid, while a 2-0 reversal against Chelsea in the final
home match of the season quashed a top four hope that Benitez had
'guaranteed' back in December.
The goalless draw at relegated Hull City would not only prove to be
the final game of a disappointing campaign, but would also be Rafa's
swansong as the club opted to part ways with the Spaniard less than
four weeks later after a season that saw his side lose 19 games.
It was time for a change
By James Carroll - LFC Official Website
Roy Evans today paid tribute to Rafael Benitez's
Liverpool tenure - but accepted the time was right for change at the
The Reds confirmed on Thursday that Benitez is to leave the club by
mutual consent, bringing his six-year reign to an end.
And former Anfield boss Evans told Liverpoolfc.tv: "It's always sad
when a manager leaves.
"Rafa was a good servant to the club over his six years and
obviously successful. Unfortunately last season wasn't so good and
there's been a lot of criticism.
"Sometimes as a football club you have to make a decision to take
the club forward and that seems to be what has happened today."
During his stewardship, Benitez guided Liverpool to success in the
Champions League and FA Cup, while also lifting the European Super
Cup and Community Shield.
The Premier League title remained elusive, however, although the
50-year-old helped the Reds mount their strongest championship
challenge since 1990 in 2008-09, with the team ending the campaign
in second place having amassed 86 points.
Evans said: "The fans will always be grateful to Rafa. If you win
the Champions League, the fans will always endear to you, and there
was the FA Cup, Super Cup and Community Shield too.
"Fans will look back on Rafa's reign and say it was a great period,
but unfortunately one year you can do poorly and that's the way
football is today."
Anfield politics, not results caused
Rafael Benítez's Liverpool downfall
Comment by Andy Hunter - guardian.co.uk
Benítez was the victim of Liverpool's financial
problems but flawed signings made him partly responsible for his
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
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
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.
went wrong for Rafa
Here we look at some of the factors which have led
to the downfall of the Spaniard in his failed attempt to bring the
glory days back to Anfield.
FAILURE TO WIN THE PREMIER LEAGUE
Liverpool made a serious challenge for the title in 2008-09 and it
appeared as though they had matured from annual pretenders to
realistic contenders for the coveted crown back in August.
When the former Valencia boss took over the helm vacated by Gerard
Houllier in June 2004, the main part of his job description was
clear: bring much-craved championship success and glory days back to
Merseyside. Despite the famous Champions League victory of 2005, and
FA Cup success the following year, Benitez's trophy haul was not up
to the heady standards set in eras gone by.
The much-heralded dominance on all fronts of the great Liverpool
sides of the 1970s and 1980s has left many in the Kop with a feeling
of superiority and dreaming of better times. With no title success
in 20 barren years, and no sign of any immediate change in these
fortunes, the natives became restless.
In Benitez's defence, his time in the Anfield hotseat was littered
by boardroom unrest and constant media speculation of rifts between
the manager and American owners George Gillett and Tom Hicks.
The ambitious Gillett/Hicks partnership took control in early 2007
with big promises and an apparent mountain of cash to spend on the
team. Amidst stories of fall-outs between the pair, and rumblings of
money shortages that left Benitez's transfer kitty severely reduced,
the manager was severely hampered in his pursuit of glory for the
HAUNTED BY THE PAST
The Spaniard has had his detractors since making the move to
England, and draws constant unavoidable comparisons to the leaders
of previous glorious Liverpool sides, including legends Bill Shankly
and Bob Paisley.
With the added pressure of title-winning boss Kenny Dalglish hanging
around in the Anfield shadows as club ambassador, and frequent calls
for the Scot to return to the manager's role, Benitez had to
constantly deal with the ghosts of the past and memories of the
expectations he ultimately failed to meet.
With the added media analysis and opinion from ex-players into each
and every decision he made, it showed the stringent belief the
49-year-old had in his unique methods - not to mention a strength of
character - to stick to them.
Throughout his time as boss, Benitez was time and time again
criticised for his unpredictable and sometimes puzzling team
selections and dependency on a squad rotation policy.
Although it can be argued that such systems have been deployed
successfully at Manchester United and Chelsea in particular,
Liverpool's over-reliance on star players Steven Gerrard and
Fernando Torres and lack of squad depth was widely condemned.
At times it seemed that when his match-winning duo were injured or
not on top form, Benitez's sides were devoid of creativity and
showed a distinct lack of the guile and quality needed to break
Benitez had a mixed record in the transfer market in his time at
Anfield. The most expensive flop appeared to be the ill-fated
signing of Robbie Keane from Tottenham for £19million, as without
gaining a regular opportunity at Anfield the Republic of Ireland
captain was shipped out again after just six months.
The much-maligned trio of Ryan Babel, Andrea Dossena and Lucas
Leiva's cumulative transfer fees equal £25.5million and they have
added little more than inadequate cover for the Reds' top
performers, while Italian Alberto Aquilani has been another
big-money letdown so far since joining from Roma and has failed to
provide the coherence in midfield supplied by Xabi Alonso, who left
for Real Madrid.
affair ends in tears
TEAMtalk takes a look back at Rafael Benitez's
six-year reign as Liverpool manager following Thursday's
confirmation of his Anfield departure.
Benitez had a warmth for Liverpool that extended beyond the
boundaries of Anfield and the club's state-of-the-art Melwood
The Spanish manager embraced the city, warts and all, during a
six-season stay in England's top flight.
When he put pen-to-paper a new four-year contract extension in March
2009, Benitez said: "My heart is with Liverpool.
"I'm delighted to sign this new deal. I love the club, the fans and
the city. With a club and supporters like this, I could never say no
"The club is greatly respected around the world due to its
incredible history and tremendous heritage. It is my aim to uphold
those values and help create a new chapter in our history."
Now only 15 months on, Benitez himself is history after a dreadful
season. His team finished only seventh in the Premier League and
suffered early exits from the Champions League, FA Cup and Carling
Given how much time he has invested in Liverpool tactically, not to
mention emotionally, he will be going through a process of
Apart from his family, football is Benitez's life, although he does
He did seem to try to bring the game to life on the pitch with
certain tactics and certain selections that baffled supporters and
Co-owner Tom Hicks recently said Benitez would have a "substantial"
transfer budget this summer despite he and George Gillett trying to
sell the club.
It has been reported that the funds available to Benitez could be as
little as £5million, before selling players, and the futures of
Steven Gerrard, Fernando Torres and Javier Mascherano are unclear.
In fact, virtually from the day he walked through the Anfield door
he has known his spending power is on a different level to his main
Benitez arrived at Anfield as successor to Gerard Houllier in the
summer of 2004 and led Liverpool to two major trophies in his first
two seasons - an achievement unmatched by any of his predecessors.
Born in Madrid in April 1960, his playing days were spent largely in
the Spanish lower leagues, though he did enjoy a spell at the Real
but never made a senior appearance.
Benitez took control of Real Madrid's youth team in 1986. His
managerial career began at Valladolid in 1995. Spells at Osasuna,
Extremadura and Tenerife followed before he established himself with
In just three years at the Mestalla, Benitez managed to break the
stranglehold Real Madrid and Barcelona had on Spanish football,
winning two Primera Division titles and a UEFA Cup to boot.
He then carved himself into Liverpool folklore in 2005 when they
lifted the European Cup with a dramatic victory against AC Milan in
Istanbul. That was followed three months later by the UEFA Super
Benitez's second season on Merseyside saw the FA Cup secured, this
time after a penalty shoot-out victory over West Ham in Cardiff.
He reaffirmed his commitment to the club by signing a new four-year
deal in June 2006 despite widely publicised interest from abroad.
Benitez again led Liverpool to the Champions League final in May
2007, though this time they went down to AC Milan.
Liverpool have not been able to reach those heights again and it has
also been 20 years since they have been crowned kings of England.
Now Benitez is moving on and looking for the next challenge. Could
it be Italy and Inter Milan?
Fairclough: Change was necessary
David Fairclough believes the club had to change
their manager to retain the likes of Steven Gerrard and Fernando
The end of Rafael Benitez's six-year reign at Anfield has been
confirmed after the Spaniard agreed a severance deal with the club.
Benitez's future had been the subject of recurring speculation
throughout a difficult past season, which Liverpool ended in a
disappointing seventh place in the Premier League.
That represents an alarming slide from their runners-up spot last
year and, with no Champions League football next season and club
debts of £351million, Fairclough feels the team needs fresh impetus.
Star players Gerrard and Torres, as well as Javier Mascherano and
Yossi Benayoun, have all been linked with moves elsewhere and the
change at the helm could now help persuade them to stay.
Fairclough, who made 155 appearances for the Reds from 1974-83, told
Sky Sports News: "I am not totally surprised. There has been so much
speculation surrounding the club - ownership-wise and the future of
"Liverpool under-performed last season and there were clear signs of
"I think Rafa found it hard to galvanise the team in the way he had
in seasons previous.
"With big decisions coming up for Torres and Gerrard to commit their
futures, and to show Liverpool have a real future, they need to keep
hold of their best players.
"I think a strong decision needed to be taken and with the World Cup
coming up, Liverpool couldn't afford to wait too long."
Roy Hodgson, Martin O'Neill and Guus Hiddink are among the
favourites to succeed Benitez, as is former Reds boss Kenny
And the Scot, who guided Liverpool to three league titles in his
first spell as manager between 1985 and 1991 and is currently
working with the club's youth players, has the backing of former
Reds midfielder Jamie Redknapp.
The 59-year-old's last managerial spell came 10 years ago at Celtic
but Redknapp believes he can bring the glory days back to Anfield.
"I have absolutely no doubt that Kenny would be a huge success if he
took over," said Redknapp, who spent 10 years at the club.
"The argument would be that he has been out of football for a long
time but Kenny watches football every day, he doesn't miss a thing.
"The players will respect him from his previous experience so Kenny
Dalglish would be a very good idea.
"People are talking about him as a temporary solution but he can be
the permanent manager for me.
"The man was a genius as a player. From just being around him his
enthusiasm rubs off on you. Steven Gerrard and Fernando Torres need
someone that they enjoy working with and that man should be Kenny
By Rob Parrish - Sky Sports
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
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
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.
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
"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
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.
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
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.''
Benitez within a week
By Zack Wilson - Goal.com
Former Liverpool striker John Aldridge is sure
that the the Reds' hierarchy will replace Rafael Benitez as manager
within a week.
But it is not the Spaniard who should be carrying the can for the
club's recent disappointments, according to the former Republic of
Rather, it is time that the owners accepted their share of the blame
and came to a swift resolution of the ongoing and often confusing
situation regarding the club's sale.
"Nothing surprises me about Liverpool any more," Aldridge told The
"The ones who should be getting out of the club are the owners,
Hicks and Gillett. They should be going before anyone else but Rafa
is going first.
"It’s a bold move as it’s always a gamble to change the manager. A
lot of supporters haven’t been happy with what Rafa has done this
year and the way the team fell away.
"He had a lot of injuries to contend with but some of our football
away from home was really poor. It went stale last season and it
could be time for a change.
"I just hope it is all sorted out in the right manner. That the two
parties get together amicably and agree it’s the end of the road and
go their separate ways.
"The last thing we want is any more rows. We’ve already hung enough
of our dirty laundry out in public."
There have been reports in recent days that a lack of cash being
made available for summer transfers is one of the issues behind
Benitez's likely departure.
Even if that is the case, Aldridge believes that the Reds will have
no problem attracting a high-quality successor to the Spaniard.
"Liverpool is still a massive club with a massive history – we won’t
struggle to attract a big name," he added.
"Okay, we don’t have a lot of money but what a challenge it is to
come in at this time and try to turn it around.
"I can’t for the life of me believe they are going to let Rafa go
without having someone else lined up.
"You don’t make a decision like that without knowing who you are
going to get in his place. When Gerard Houllier went, Liverpool had
Rafa lined up.
"Some people will say give the job to Kenny Dalglish in the short
term. Of course Kenny knows his stuff but we need a permanent boss
in place within a week.
"This is a crucial time for making signings and deciding who to get
rid of. The new man has to sit down with the players and tell them
where he sees Liverpool going.
"Of course Jose Mourinho is out after he went to Real Madrid but
there are plenty of good coaches out there like Martin O’Neill, Guus
Hiddink and Louis Van Gaal."
Aldridge does feel it is important that Reds fans remember the
success that Benitez has brought to Anfield during his six years in
charge, but now also acknowledges that it is time for a new era at
"We mustn’t forget what Rafa’s done for the club and it’s been so
much better than Houllier’s reign," he said.
"He’s taken us to two European Cup finals, including that amazing
night in Istanbul, and has always done his best for the club.
"It’s a pity that he wasn’t backed in the transfer market as much as
he should have been. If he had been backed a bit more we might have
won the league title.
"Things just didn’t work out last season and we went backwards, big
"No-one is bigger than the club and Liverpool have to move on now.
We have to put the foundations down for a new era."
"Player power sealed
The imminent departure of Rafa Benitez from
Liverpool is being seen as a positive, and inevitable move
on Fleet Street.
The Times' Tony Barrett claims this is a crucial moment for the
He writes: 'The beginning of what appears to be the end for Rafael
Benítez also marks the start of a summer that threatens to be one of
the most painful - and will undoubtedly be the most pivotal - in the
modern history of Britain's most successful football club...
'For the past 20 years Liverpool have gone into each and every
summer desperate to reclaim their status as English champions and
each and every time they have failed in their mission.
'This time around the situation they are facing is much more extreme
and the challenge confronting them even more critical as they bid to
reclaim both their soul and their sense of direction. Failure on
these fronts does not even bear thinking about.'
Andy Hunter writes in The Guardian that Benitez may not be the
only departure from Anfield this summer.
'Liverpool's best two players have both said they will consider
their futures after the World Cup, and Marca, the Spanish sports
paper with close ties to Real Madrid, yesterday announced that
Gerrard is the principal target of Real Madrid's new manager, José
And it was the loss of support from those key players that made
Benitez's departure a matter of time, according to Phil Thomas in
'It is a decision that will officially have come from those at the
top. In truth it is one for which the foundations were most
definitely laid on the shop floor. Or, to be more precise, the
dressing room itself...
'Men like Steven Gerrard, Fernando Torres, Javier Mascherano, Yossi
Benayoun, Jamie Carragher... the list of those with shrinking faith
in the manager seemed to grow by the game.'
Indeed, The Daily Mirror's David Maddock goes one further, saying
of the senior players: 'Some had even stated privately that they
would leave if Benitez stayed.'
And so attention turns to Benitez's potential successor.
The Mirror reports: 'Liverpool have already drawn up a short-list of
possible replacements for Benitez, with the highly respected Roy
Hodgson and Louis Van Gaal topping the candidates, along with
Benfica manager Jorge Jesus, and - before he accepted the Italy job
- Cesare Prandelli of Fiorentina.'
The names Roy Hodgson and Martin O'Neill are mentioned elsewhere,
while The Daily Mail suggests Guus Hiddink and Mark Hughes, but The
Daily Telegraph suggests an old favourite might step in.
'They (the board) will be banking on Liverpool's stature and
potential to attract a successor, with Kenny Dalglish a potential
hours for Rafa
Sky Sports sources understand Rafa Benitez is to
leave Liverpool in the next 48 hours as the two parties continue to
negotiate a severance package.
News broke of Benitez's likely departure on Wednesday night, with
the Spaniard believed to be on the cusp of leaving Anfield after a
hugely disappointing past campaign.
Liverpool were expected to mount a serious title tilt after
finishing second in the previous season but instead an early exit
from the UEFA Champions League was followed by a failure to qualify
for next term's premier club competition, after finishing seventh in
the Premier League.
Reports emanating from the Merseyside outfit have suggested Benitez
has lost the support of senior figures within the dressing room,
with key duo Fernando Torres and Steven Gerrard linked with summer
Sky Sports has learnt that Benitez will likely confirm his exit
within the next 48 hours, although his agent is refusing to comment
on the speculation.
Manuel Garcia Quilon said: "We don't know anything more than what's
being said. We're not saying anything."
Various figures have been mooted with regards how much it will take
to pay-off the Spanish tactician, with the club now looking to
thrash out terms that suit both parties.
Sky Bet have installed Aston Villa manager Martin O'Neill as the 6/4
favourite to take over at Liverpool on a permanent basis should
Guus Hiddink, who is set to take the reins of the Turkish national
team, is 3/1 and Roy Hodgson, who guided Fulham to their first
European final last season, is 4/1.
Fans' favourite Kenny Dalglish, who has been tipped for a temporary
role, is 6/1 and Oswaldo de Oliveira, who has steered J League side
Kashima Antlers to three league titles, one Emperor's Cup and one
Japanese Super Cup since 2007, is 12/1 to take over.
Benítez conquered Europe with Liverpool
but is now victim of owners' reign
By Rory Smith Telegraph.co.uk
Approached by a newspaper hoping to engage him as
a columnist for this summer’s World Cup, Rafael Benítez politely
refused, explaining that such a task would be too much work for a
man hoping to enjoy a summer with his family.
“For example,” he said. With him, there is always an example. “When
I did commentary for Spanish TV on a Real Betis match, I spoke to
players from both teams to find out how they’d line up, how they
expected to play. Only then could I say how well they’d executed
their plans. It has to be right. I cannot just do it in 20 minutes,
like some pundits.” Obsessive, meticulous, perfectionist.
Given that he would put such effort into a newspaper column, it is
easy to imagine the diligence with which he attacked his day job. He
returned to his Melwood office after another of the emotional,
intense European nights which became his speciality in six years at
Anfield to watch reruns of the game, highlighting areas for
Such traits are highly prized at Liverpool, even now, even when the
club has lost sight of the path it followed under Shankly, Paisley,
Fagan and Dalglish.
Little wonder that when Benítez arrived, fresh from La Liga and Uefa
Cup triumphs at Valencia, that the coach who had seemed restive in
his early years looked to have found a club where he fitted.
The Kop took to him immediately, any doubts as to his ability
engendered by a mediocre first league campaign washed away in the
fevered fantasy of Istanbul in 2005; any fears over his character
dismissed by his appearance in a German pub thronged with Liverpool
fans prior to victory in the last-16.
The breathless FA Cup triumph which followed in Cardiff in 2006
cemented his place in Liverpool’s folklore. Even defeat in Athens,
AC Milan’s revenge, in 2007 and the barbs of opposing fans could not
shake Anfield’s faith. Benítez was the conqueror of Europe, Jose
Mourinho’s nemesis and Shankly’s heir, protector of the Liverpool
Anfield was a very different place, though. David Moores had sold
the club for £218.9 million to Tom Hicks and George Gillett in
February 2007, the new “custodians” vowing to take Liverpool to the
Promised Land, the league title. The Americans, their promises and
their wallets empty, would serve only to deepen the club’s
They had scarcely been in charge for six months when details emerged
of their conversations with Jurgen Klinsmann over the possibility
ofhim succeeding Benítez, should he decide to go.
The Spaniard bit back, repeating the mantra that he was “focused on
preparing and coaching his team”, the dismissive, arrogant phrase
his absentee landlords had directed at him as they sharpened the
knife to plunge in his back. In hindsight, that was the breaking
Since then, Benítez has found himself doing anything but focusing on
preparing and coaching his team. To borrow one of the terms he
deploys most to describe the players he tries to bring to his sides,
the Spaniard was condemned to operate between the lines.
He has played politician, forging shifting alliances with
Liverpool’s power-brokers and eventually learning to thrive amid the
backbiting and infighting as the relationship between Hicks, Gillett
and Rick Parry, the erstwhile chief executive, deteriorated.
And he played bank manager, too, as the debt mountain placed on the
club by Hicks and Gillett soared, wheeling and dealing to balance
the books. In Benítez’s own words, Liverpool have, for two years,
been a company, not a football team.
He enjoyed only limited success in the role of the Spanish Harry
Redknapp. Many of his buys have been ill-judged, his failure to
leave Liverpool with a squad imbued with quality in depth the most
damning indictment of his tenure.
That did not stop him mounting Liverpool’s first genuine title
challenge for almost a decade, though, even as chaos threatened to
engulf the club. That success, though, could never last in such a
Benítez’s magic touch deserted him, his five-year, £20 million
contract signed in March 2009 – the final act in his struggle for
power with Parry – left looking like a monument to the club’s folly.
Liverpool, in the space of a few months, lost their Champions League
status not twice, and found themselves cut adrift from the Premier
Anfield has been afforded a glimpse of the obscurity which awaits
England’s most decorated club in any future in which Hicks and
Whatever his faults, whatever his mistakes, whatever his spend,
Benítez’s exit should not be seen as proof that he is the man to
blame. Liverpool’s imperfect perfectionist is simply the first
Thor Zakariassen ©