• Premier League

Rodgers: Reds chose me, not Rafa

ESPN staff
April 10, 2013 « Live County Championship coverage | Chartbeat test »
Brendan Rodgers believes Liverpool are a more cohesive unit from pitch to boardroom © Getty Images
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Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers has played down reports that Rafael Benitez is keen for a second spell at Anfield, pointing out the club chose not to bring him back during the summer.

Chelsea interim manager Benitez, whose time in charge at Stamford Bridge is all but certain to end at the end of the season, told Spanish sports daily Marca this week that he will "almost certainly" manage Liverpool again, though he could not say when.

The Spaniard led Liverpool to Champions League glory in 2005 and a second final in 2007 during his six-year spell at the club, but Rodgers does not feel his position will be under threat this summer.

"Rafa had a successful time here," Rodgers said. "He'll join a list of many managers throughout the world who would want to manage a great club like this, especially having been here before.

"Obviously that opportunity was there in the summer if the owners wanted to go down that route, when Rafa was unemployed, so there was an opportunity to do that. But they felt it best to go in a different direction, and develop the club in a different way.

"From there, the board, myself, the players, the club, we've all become one, and we've been able to go forward and build the club to have success in the future.

"It's understandable for any manager to want to manage a great club like this. This is a truly world-class football club."

After the period of unrest following Benitez's departure in 2010, Rodgers believes that Liverpool's new owners are keen to build on his long-term vision for the club after following Roy Hodgson and Kenny Dalglish's time at the helm.

"Before I came in here, I'd obviously seen comments that Rafa wanted to be the manager, and I've seen comments whilst I've been in here," Rodgers continued.

"But it doesn't affect me in my work and my job. My relationship is very strong with the players, we work very closely on improving our football. We're very stable in terms of our board and the manager and the connection, and we've got some of the best fans in the world.

"So it's not a hindrance to me to be here - it's a really remarkable club that many managers would want to manage, not just Rafael Benitez."

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