28 May 2015

Anfield Stunner: Legendary boss drops massive hint that he's coming 'to Liverpool'

It's official: Rafa Benitez is leaving Napoli this summer, and with Liverpool possibly on the lookout for another manager, what are the chances of the LFC's Champions League-winning boss returning to Anfield?

Well, current media hype suggests that Benitez is set to take over at Real Madrid, but given his latest comments, I don't see how that's a viable option.

Announcing his Napoli departure this week, Benitez noted:

"The first thing is the distance from my family. A few weeks ago I spoke to my wife to try to convince her, but then I told [Napoli president] Aurelio [De Laurentiis] that it would not have been an easy task"

At the same press conference, De Laurentiis also references Benitez's desire to be close to his family:

"Rafa told me immediately after he agreed to stay on last summer that this would be his last campaign because his family wanted him nearby"

Benitez's family live in Liverpool, not Spain, as he reiterated last season:

“My family is distant. My wife and my two daughters live in Liverpool. It’s the first time that they are not with me and it’s not easy".

Amid the Madrid speculation, the question no one seems to be asking is this: if Benitez is leaving Napoli because he wants to be close to his family, why would he then take over at Real Madrid?

Last time I checked, Spain is just as far away from Liverpool as Italy (!)

The only way that makes sense is if the Spaniard uproots his entire family from the UK (and rips his daughters away from their school/friends), and given Benitez's ties to Merseyside, that seems unlikely.

Plus, Benitez has made it unambiguously clear in the past that he wants the Liverpool job. Last season, for example, he told reporters:

"I know I will return to Liverpool as coach one day, almost certainly. What I don’t know is when but my wife and children still live there, so I will be back".

Then, in April this year, FIFA agent Jose Alberti claimed:

"He [Benitez] he will return to England in three months [July 2015]. His mind is already there. He will return to Liverpool and he wants to get back to winning. He is ideal for the Premier League."

Well, Benitez is a free agent now, so a return to Liverpool to be with his family seems to be the most likely eventuality. Reds fans certainly want him back. In November, I conducted a poll on the site asking whether he is a good choice to replace Rodgers:

* 16200 visitors (approx) participated in the poll.

* 81% of fans voted YES for a Benitez return.

I argued for Benitez's departure in 2009, and I maintain it was the right decision to move him on at that time.

However, five years is plenty of time to reflect, and given Benitez's nature, I'm sure he has exhaustively analysed where he went wrong, and resolved to improve things the second time around.

The Spaniard's current detractors judge him through the skewed lens of the past, but he's a different manager now, and working under a FSG, he has the managerial experience and talent to achieve even more success at Anfield.

Importantly, Benitez has the track record and the pull to attract top-class players. He has an aura about him that Rodgers lacks, and he's still young enough to build a dynasty at Liverpool

Ultimately, football opinions should not be inflexible to the point of extreme intransigence; people change, learn, and, most importantly, grow, and with his experiences over the last five years, Benitez will probably make a better Liverpool manager now.

As such, despite being one of his biggest detractors, I'd tentatively support Benitez's return to Anfield.

Author: Jaimie K


  1. I hate seeing articles like these, mainly because it's a lie. What makes us ''favorites'' to sign him? The only thing I need to hear to confirm that we are definitely not favorites is that Arsenal are interested too.

    We will not even be able to lay an eye on Martinez knowing Arsenal are interested. The level of quality between us and Arsenal as of now is horrifyingly large, and we are on the short end. We have almost everything going against us, except for ''Hey, well it's Liverpool!''

    Soon it must be realized the only thing we have going for us as of now is our identity, which is only decaying with every pathetic loss, and will only get worse with the absence of Gerrard.

    Please, Jamie, for the sake of the club, stop making articles hinting at us signing big name players, because every time I look at one of these I cringe, quite simply because it's beyond realistic, even optimistic. Stick with the articles on Milner, because according to press, Liverpool isn't even a destination for players like Benteke either.

  2. Funny that you say that, since PSV won the league this year.

    But every year, It seems like Bayern is getting a tad weaker while teams like Wolfsburg and Leverkusen are getting much stronger. Monchengladbach are a very strong powerhouse this season too, and are improving rapidly as well.

  3. Well after all is said and done did bayern not win the league in march for the second year running? That's aproximately 12 league games to spare right if we do it like a game a week for 3 months which is like 36 points to play for right?

  4. No chance we'll get him. History tends to repeat itself

  5. Not going to get any better praise than to be compared to one of the sites resident comedians, so thanks! : )

  6. While the potential for failure haggles over such a transfer, I shudder to think of what we will become if have a frontline of (often injured) Sturridge, Benteke, Origi, Balo (being played out of position). I would prefer we get Martinez. However, I doubt if FSG are THAT ambitious. They would rather settle for Ings and our BR who doesnt challenge the transfer policy

  7. Nice rhymes and a VERY good dream

  8. I dont get it when some people want to believe the myth that BR has better credentials than Klopp!!

    BR: fired from Reading and Watford, won promotion into the EPL and almost won the EPL last year, lost to Crystal Palace 1-3 two times in the same season.
    Klopp: won the Bundesliga twice [ ahead of Bayern], two champions league semi-finals!!
    There is one winner there= Klopp

  9. So we are agreeing that BR is the poorest among them- Ancelotti, Klopp, Rafa

    BR has won nothing- NADA , Nil, Zero, in any league except the championship in England!!! Very impressive indeed. So he is a better bet to succeed with Liverpool in England than Klopp, Ancelotti or Rafa

  10. Cheers : )

    Not been following the careers of the other managers to whom we're linked, i.e. Rafa, Carlo or Herr Klopp, but after seeing what Brenston Pickle brings to the table, any of them would be an improvement.

  11. The guy with the attitude problem....
    Why don't we replace our immobile strikers with another

  12. Exactly. Real Madrid do it. Dortmund did it; Liverpool did it with Alonso and Masch. Two good midfielders it can be very good for attacking football.

  13. Dude if you read the full article you will see Jaimie's explanation for his change in mind.

  14. Rafa is proven top class in the BPL & Euro, Klopp made Bayern L champion, either one is way......... better than Rodgers.

  15. Probably enjoyed Liverpool's matches the most at that time, oh happy days :)

  16. Best midfield in the world :)

  17. NOt with BR, he likes the untested potential mostly so he doesnt have stiffnecks in his dressing room. Painfully stiffnecks find the net more often than Yes men

  18. He did want Sanchez though, so reckon he would be happy to have many of the same players we would all like, just a matter of if they want to play for him and if the Club can afford them.

  19. Not according to NGCTC

  20. Do you mean Rahman Baba? Yeah, he is a good player as well but there is no way our scouting team will look at him. He is too obscure a player for our world class scouts to look at.

  21. Ausburg is hardly too obscure any more . And if juve , Chelsea and city are linked and he's rated 20m I doubt that too. I can't believe we haven't been linked to him. Perfect full back strong in the tackle and a brilliant crosser.
    Reports have juve aggressively persueing him.
    His age is what excited me the most
    He's only 20/21 massive prospect for ghana

  22. Add 10m more and get lacazette instead....

  23. Can you give a link?