Brendan Rodgers has insisted he won’t be intimidated when Rafael Benitez returns to Anfield as a manager for the first time since leaving the club in 2010, reports The
Benitez is expected to receive a warm welcome when he arrives, now as manager of Chelsea.
It was reported that Benitez had even been interested in returning to the club as manager before Rodgers’ appointment, and with the Spaniard seeming certain to become a free agent again when he departs Stamford Bridge in the summer it has been reported that he could be brought back to manage Liverpool where he still lives with his family.
Rodgers, however, says that the spectacle of seeing Benitez in the opposing manager’s dugout will not phase him as Liverpool seek to overturn their rivals.
He said: “Rafael Benitez is a fantastic manager, no question about that. But I had the confidence from the owners and the board, when I came in here, that this was a process that was going to take time.
“I only came here on the understanding that it was going to take that little bit of time. It wasn’t going to be instant. And the owners have never wavered from that. Rafael Benitez will deserve a great welcome when he comes back. He had a real good time here and he won the Champions League and the FA Cup during his six years.”
Rodgers also states that he would never talk about a managerial position at another club, regardless of how much desire he had to land the job himself, and also welcomes owner John W Henry’s idea of bringing club legend and former manager Kenny Dalglish back as an ambassador.
“It’s something I want to do for next season across the club, which is get former players involved,” said Rodgers.
“This is a wonderful football club and, with the likes of Jamie Carragher moving on in the summer, I want to look around and see people with a link to the past. I don’t find that intimidating and I’ve said to the players that their job is to put themselves on the walls here.
“That’s where you want to be, both as a player and a manager, so that you are remembered for years to come. The most important thing for me is the club, not Brendan Rodgers. If I was only worried about myself, then maybe having people around with great histories would worry me. But it doesn’t one bit.
“That’s maybe because I have a total belief in what I do. But it’s very important that, if we are one of the great football families in the world, then you have to have members of that family here.”
Liverpool’s hopes of European qualification are all but over, while Chelsea continue on in their pursuit of Champions League qualification when the two teams meet on Sunday.
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