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Benítez slips into Anfield hot-seat

Published: Wednesday 16 June 2004, 19.41CET
Rafael Benítez has signed a five-year contract as the new manager of Liverpool FC.

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Published: Wednesday 16 June 2004, 19.41CET

Benítez slips into Anfield hot-seat

Rafael Benítez has signed a five-year contract as the new manager of Liverpool FC.

Former Valencia CF coach Rafael Benítez has been named as the new manager of four-time European champions Liverpool FC.

Huge success
The 44-year-old, who has signed a five-year contrac t with Liverpool, enjoyed a hugely successful season at the Mestalla, guiding Valencia to the Primera División title and the UEFA Cup but then resigned from the post he had held since July 2001. He also won the league with Valencia in 2001/02 and previously enjoyed successful spells with CD Tenerife and CF Extramadura, leading both clubs into the Primera División.

Owen and Gerrard
At a press conference at Anfield, Benítez stressed that he will be seeking to persuade England players Michael Owen and Steven Gerrard to stay at Liverpool. "I need players like them, with good mentality and quality. They are very important to us," he said. "I want the supporters to be proud of the team, the manager, the players and the club. We need to work well and at the end we will win."

Houllier departure
There had been speculation that Benítez would replace Gérard Houllier since the Frenchman left the club last month. Liverpool finished fourth in the Premiership last season and will enter the 2004/05 UEFA Champions League in the third qualifying round.

Last updated: 27/07/04 10.17CET

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