Benitez at LFC: Seven Years On

Seven years ago today, Rafael Benitez walked away from Liverpool Football Club after six relatively successful seasons.

A UEFA Champions League and FA Cup alongside a Community Shield and UEFA Super Cup during his reign proved to be the Reds most successful period in recent history.

Rafael Benitez joins his captain to show off the FA Cup after ...
Lifting the 2006 FA Cup with LFC Captain Steven Gerrard in Cardiff

He became the first ever Spaniard to manage in the Premier League, and brought with him ideologies which have become the norm.

Most notably, the policy of rotating players and his use of zonal marking have been implemented across the league by many managers with little media fuss.

Although zonal marking still gets criticised, squad rotation happens without a blink of an eye across all clubs – aside from Chelsea this term.

Benitez urges his Liverpool team to prove they are still in Premier ...
His LFC side were condemned for their use of zonal marking


Benitez left Anfield when he felt his job was untenable under the club’s first American owners – George Gillett and Tom Hicks.

At the time of his departure, many LFC fans were glad to see the back of the former Valencia man, with the club’s form declining and it left bad taste in the mouth.

It proved to be the beginning of the decline for the Merseyside club.

Liverpool fans' fury as Tom Hicks and George Gillett deal will mop up ...
These two almost destroyed one of world football’s most famous institutions

In hindsight, nobody would have been able to maintain the clubs success during a time of turmoil off the field.

Benitez gave £96,000 of his compensation payout to the Hillsborough Family Support Group and Hillsborough Justice Campaign, showing the love he has for Liverpool.

Rafael Benitez in tears at 2011 Hillsborough Memorial at Anfield ...
An emotional Benitez at the 2011 Memorial Service

Making History

Besides becoming the first Spanish manager in the Premier League, Rafa made history at Anfield by winning the club’s fifth European Cup on that memorable night in Istanbul.

Many of the players involved that night credit Benitez with winning that game after his half time team talk of calmness and tactical nous.


After mixed spells with Napoli, Real Madrid and Chelsea as well as time at Inter Milan, Benitez returns to Premier League with promoted Newcastle United.

Rafael Benitez shrugs off Manchester City link as Napoli boss insists ...
Naples proved to be enjoyable for Rafa

Geordies love the Spanish gaffer and give him their full support.

Mike Ashley’s reputation as a bad owner could cut the relationship short if he doesn’t back his manager in the transfer market.

It would be disastrous should Rafa leave Tyneside, as there is no way Newcastle would be able to replace him with a better manager.

Benitez met with owner Mike Ashley (centre) for contract discussion ...
The board, include Ashley, must back Benitez

Back him though, and the sky is the limit for the Magpies.

Mike Ashley and Rafa Benitez need to ensure Newcastle harmony ...
All smiles with the Championship trophy