A Rafa Benitez return to Liverpool won't happen, now club must learn from past mistakes

If Liverpool were in the top four, a gap of only four points, talk of Brendan Rodgers future would undoubtedly be muted. Instead, talk of Rafa Benitez returning as emerged with the former Reds boss 6/1 to be the next Liverpool manager.

Former Liverpool manager Rafa Benitez has been linked with a move back to Merseyside by some reports, with the Daily Mirror this morning quoting odds of the Spaniard to replace Brendan Rodgers in the Liverpool hot seat at 6/1. If he was nailed on to become Liverpool manager again, one would fancy that price to be somewhat shorter.

Without doubt, Benitez holds a special place in the heats of Liverpool fans. Having masterminded successes in the Champions League and FA Cup, the Reds were spoilt with some of the club's great European nights, and Champions League football was expected year after year, it became the norm.

He came close to ending Liverpool's wait for the league title by setting a Premier League record points total for the club on two occasions - but his downfall came ultimately the season after finishing just the four points behind Manchester United, where the Reds experienced off the field troubles with a retched ownership at the hands of George Gillett and Tom Hicks that brought the club to its knees.

After reigns of Roy Hodgson and then Kenny Dalglish, the man the current ownership wanted was Brendan Rodgers. At the end of their three-year plan, they wanted to see Liverpool returned to the Champions League. They got that after their second season, along with a little bit more as the Reds went so close to winning their first league title since 1990.

Now, with the loss of Luis Suarez, the injury to Daniel Sturridge, and trying to integrate as many as nine players into a side as well as living up to the heights of last season, and learning of the demands of the Champions League all over again, to expect there not to be a few bumps in the road will have been naive to say the least.

So, Rodgers has become a victim of his own success within the short time at the club. The defence needs a lot of work but the attack was jaw-dropping. If anyone thinks that last season was down to Luis Suarez entirely, then people should remember which manager had a huge role into developing Suarez into the player he is today.

There are issues, but going back to Rafa Benitez isn't going to happen, as much as Rafa would love it to happen.

He doesn't fit the template that FSG seem to want. They want a young, promising manager for the long term. Add in the fact that Benitez confirmed he is in contract talks for an extension on his two seasons at Napoli would indicate he isn't leaving Italy any time soon, even if he does miss his family who still reside on Merseyside.

The other thing is, if you bring in so many players then you are going to have to allow at least two seasons to try and get them functioning as a unit. It took Rodgers half a season to get to grips with a side that wasn't his and any change could set Liverpool back a little more - potentially costly.

Benitez and Rodgers offer something different - and in many ways Rodgers is still learning on the job. Sometimes there has to be one step back to take two steps forward. In many ways, the people that want Rodgers out now were the same that wanted rid of Benitez after he finished second and in the poor season subsequent to that. Look what happened then [and no, Benitez isn't Roy Hodgson, but it is an example of being careful what you wish for].

Both Rodgers and Benitez had their transfer business constantly debated, but given the majority of the current Liverpool manager's came this summer, it would represent a flawed debate.

Simply put, this wouldn't have been talked about if Liverpool were hot on the heels of fourth place, it will be interesting to see if this gets talked about if the Reds string a set of wins together. The reality is, if someone gets so close to landing the holy grail of the league title, they're expected to kick on and do it the next season, rightly or wrongly. Talk of Rodgers' future should cease, for now.

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