Las Palmas to Los Angeles: what happened to Rafa Benitez's final Liverpool XI?

Steven Gerrard with former manager Rafa Benitez

Rafael Benitez's last Liverpool line-up was seen on the final day of the 2009-10 Premier League season. From Las Palmas to Los Angeles, Barcelona to Brondby, we examine life after Liverpool for this XI.

Rafael Benitez became the first Spanish manager to work in the Premier League upon joining Liverpool in the summer of 2004.

Benitez's six years in charge at Anfield produced a European Champions League title (2004-05), the UEFA Super Cup (2005), an FA Cup (2005-06) and the Community Shield (2006).

After many successes - including a second placed finish in Benitez's penultimate year - the Spaniard's tenure at England's most successful club fizzled out after a 0-0 draw against Hull City at the end of a disappointing 2009-10 campaign; a season that closed with Liverpool in 7th position in the Premier League and without Champions League qualification for 2010-11. 

Rafa Benitez unveiled as Liverpool managerRafa Benitez unveiled as Liverpool manager

Benitez's final team selection as Liverpool manager was far from full-strength, with many first team picks missing from the XI. The likes of Glen Johnson, Martin Skrtel, Fabio Aurelio, Albert Reira, Yossi Benayoun, Maxi Rodriguez and top scorer Fernando Torres were all absent.

Here's what happened to Rafa Benitez's final Liverpool starting XI...

Pepe Reina - Liverpool won the 2005 UEFA Super Cup on Reina's debut. After signing from Villarreal, Reina went on to make 394 appearances for Liverpool - including winning the Premier League's 'Golden Glove' awards in three consecutive seasons (2005-06, 2006-07 and 2007-08). Reina played under Benitez's Liverpool predecessors Roy Hodgson, Kenny Dalglish and Brendan Rodgers, before leaving on-loan to Napoli in 2013, where Rafa was managing at the time. Moves to Bayern Munich and a permanent return to current team Napoli followed.

New Liverpool signing Jose Reina with Liverpool manager Rafael Benitez

Javier MascheranoFielded at right-back for Benitez's final game, tenacious midfielder Mascherano was an important figure for Liverpool from 2007 to 2010. Mascherano was one of the first players to leave the club after Benitez's exit - moving to FC Barcelona just weeks after the 0-0 draw with Hull. The Argentina international is in his seventh season at the Nou Camp.

Sotirios Kyrgiakos - Greek defender Kyrgiakos played for Liverpool in the 2009-10 and 2010-11 seasons, making a total of 30 league appearances before departing for Wolfsburg. Kyrgiakos made a return to the Premier League for three loan appearances for Sunderland in 2012. The defender then made two league appearances for Australian outfit Sydney Olympic, retiring soon after. 

Jamie Carragher - Liverpool's second-longest serving player of all time retired at the end of the 2012-13 season. Carragher made 737 appearances for the club, including a stoic display in the 2005 Champions League final. A one-man club, Carragher - along with Reina - was a huge part of Benitez's impressive defensive record whilst at Liverpool, and is widely considered a Liverpool legend.  

Jamie Carragher (R) - Liverpool and Daniel Agger prior to kick off

Daniel Agger - Another Benitez stalwart, Agger became a firm fans favourite during his nine seasons at Anfield (he has 'YNWA' tattooed on his knuckles). Agger was a composed centre back and forged fine partnerships with Jamie Carragher and Martin Skrtel. In 2014, after 232 Liverpool appearances, Agger agreed to take a pay-cut upon his transfer to his native Denmark - returning to the club that launched his career, Brondby. The Dane retired just two years later, aged 31.

Lucas Leiva - Lucas is the only player from Benitez's last team sheet to still be playing for Liverpool. The midfielder signed from Gremio in the summer of 2007 and has made 316 appearances for the Merseyside club to date.

Alberto Aquilani - In 2009, Benitez spent £17 million on midfielder Alberto Aquilani, - who was seen as a replacement for the Real Madrid bound Xabi Alonso. However, Aquilani never really settled in the more physically demanding English Premier League and the Italian only managed 18 league appearances before returning to Italy with loan seasons at Juventus and AC Milan - followed by a permanent transfer to Fiorentina. Aquilani now plays for recently promoted Pescara in Serie A.

Liverpool Manager Rafael Benitez and Steven Gerrard celebrate winning the Champions League with the TrophyThen.. and now... Gerrard moved to MLS upon leaving his mark on Liverpool

Steven Gerrard playing for the LA Galaxy

Steven GerrardOnce named the best player in the world by the legendary Pele, Steven Gerrard is a true Liverpool great. The man who led Liverpool - almost single-handedly at times - to a Champions League title, an UEFA Cup, UEFA Super Cup, three Football League Cups, an FA Community Shield, and two FA Cups, played a total of 710 times for Liverpool between 1998 and 2015. Upon leaving his boyhood team, Gerrard signed for the Los Angeles Galaxy in Major League Soccer. Galaxy coach Bruce Arena is hopeful that 36-year-old Gerrard's two year stint in MLS will continue into 2017.

Ryan Babel - The Netherlands international forward signed for Liverpool in 2007 and made 146 appearances during his four seasons at the club. Despite never really cementing a role in Benitez's Liverpool sides, Babel has not replicated this frequency of games for any other team in his career. After leaving Liverpool in January 2011, Babel played in German, Dutch, Turkish, United Arab Emirate and Spanish football - where Babel is currently playing for Deportivo La Coruna.  

Nabil El Zhar - Moroccan international winger El Zhar only appeared in 21 league games in his four years on Liverpool's roster. Weeks after playing in Benitez's final Liverpool match, El Zhar joined Greek side PAOK on loan. Upon returning in August 2011, the winger was released from his Liverpool contract and has since plied his trade in Spanish football; first with Levante and then with current club Las Palmas.

Dirk Kuyt celebrates scoring v Everton 2007Dirk Kuyt celebrates scoring v Everton in 2007

Dirk Kuyt - Kuyt played 286 times for Liverpool from 2006 to 2012 and was a significant part of the club's progress under Rafael Benitez. The work-rate and adaptability of the Netherlands international endeared him to Liverpool supporters throughout the forward's six year stay at Anfield. Kuyt left Liverpool and joined Turkish side Fenerbache in the summer of 2012, before returning to Feyenoord in 2015 - where he is still scoring goals, aged 36. 

Register for LIVERPOOL team updates

Register for HITC Sport - Daily Dispatch