Spanish football expert Guillem Balague has not ruled out the possibility of Rafael Benitez returning to Liverpool for a second managerial stint at Anfield but admitted that such a move currently seems “difficult” to envisage.
Speaking on his YouTube channel, the journalist said: “He’s got unfinished business at Liverpool but that will be very difficult to attend to.” Balague also suggested that the 60-year-old, currently manager of Dalian Yifang in China, could return to Newcastle, a club in the midst of a lucrative Saudi takeover.
Benitez previously managed Liverpool for six years between 2004 and 2010, winning the Champions League in his first season at Anfield and adding the FA Cup a year later. The Reds were consistently in the Champions League during his time at the club and he came close to landing their first Premier League title in 2009, when they were edged out by Manchester United.
Despite a lowly seventh-place finish in his final season with the Reds and his desire to sell Xabi Alonso before the midfielder left in 2009, the Spaniard continued to be held in high regard by many at Liverpool in the decade since his departure from Anfield (as per Irish Times).
In that time, Benitez has managed six clubs, with stints at Inter Milan, Chelsea, Napoli, Real Madrid and Newcastle prior to taking up his current role in China. He has won four trophies since leaving Liverpool, most notably the 2013 Europa League with Chelsea. That success enabled him to leave Stamford Bridge with appreciation from many Blues fans who had previously regarded him with hostility. His subsequent return to England saw him become a hugely popular figure among the majority of Newcastle supporters.
Benitez has an impressive CV and his previous with Liverpool would probably make any return to Anfield a popular one among many Kopites. Also, as Balague has suggested, he could perhaps be lured back by the quest to finally win a Premier League title, one honour which has eluded the 60-year-old.
However, with Jurgen Klopp contracted to the club for another four years and signing a new deal as recently as December, it seems highly unlikely that Benitez or any other manager will be occupying the home dugout at Anfield any time soon. Plus, if Newcastle’s proposed takeover goes through, he could well be tempted back to a club where he has been very well received and where he would have a vastly superior budget to that with which he previously worked at St James’ Park.
Therefore, Balague’s other assertion that Benitez’s second coming at Anfield would appear “very difficult” to envisage seems the more pertinent claim.
Do you think Benitez could go back to Liverpool at a later stage? Would you like to have him back at Anfield in the future? Join in the discussion by commenting below!