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Liverpool FC have confirmed that manager Rafael Benítez will leave the club by mutual consent.
Benítez had been in charge at Anfield for six years and led Liverpool to the UEFA Champions League title in 2005. However, despite running Manchester United FC close in the 2008/09 Premier League campaign, he could not end the Reds' long wait for an English title and this season his side came seventh, their worst finish during his reign. Liverpool also failed to progress out of the UEFA Champions League group stage for the first time with Benítez at the helm.
The Spanish trainer said: "
It is very sad for me to announce that I will no longer be manager of Liverpool. I would like to thank all of the staff and players for their efforts. I have no words to thank you enough for all these years and I am very proud to say that I was your manager."
The 50-year-old Benítez started his coaching career in the Real Madrid CF youth setup and joined Liverpool in 2004 after three success-laden years at Valencia CF. He led the Merseyside club to their fifth European title in his first season and won the FA Cup the following campaign.
Although his side consistently excelled on the European stage – finishing runners-up in the 2007 UEFA Champions League – they could not win the English top flight, an honour that has eluded the country's most successful club since 1990.
Liverpool, who will take part in qualifying for next season's UEFA Europa League, have not announced a replacement saying that a formal search for a successor will be headed by managing director Christian Purslow and club ambassador Kenny Dalglish.
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