Liverpool have officially announced this afternoon that manager Rafael Benitez is to leave the club by mutual consent.

The Anfield board moved to get rid of the Spaniard after a disappointing campaign saw them finish in seventh place and dumped out of the Champions League in the group phase. Although Benitez only signed a five-year contract last summer with a £16 million severance clause, Sky Sports News reported a £6 million compensation fee had been agreed.

An official statement on the club’s official website this afternoon announced the search for a successor had already begun, led by club legend Kenny Dalglish and managing director Christian Purslow.

It said: “Mr Benitez relinquishes his position as team manager after six years and the Board of Directors would like to place on record their grateful thanks for his services and wish him all the best in his future career.

“The Board has now asked Managing Director Christian Purslow, with the assistance of Club Ambassador Kenny Dalglish, to begin a formal search to identify and assess potential candidates for the managerial position.

“No timescale has been placed on the process and Liverpool FC will make no further statement until a new manager is appointed.
Benitez said: “It is very sad for me to announce that I will no longer be manager of Liverpool FC. I would like to thank all of the staff and players for their efforts.

“I’ll always keep in my heart the good times I’ve had here, the strong and loyal support of the fans in the tough times and the love from Liverpool. I have no words to thank you enough for all these years and I am very proud to say that I was your manager.

“Thank you so much once more and always remember: You’ll never walk alone.”

Chairman Martin Broughton praised the ex-Valencia manager’s work. He said: “Rafa will forever be part of Liverpool folklore after bringing home the Champions League following the epic final in Istanbul but after a disappointing season both parties felt a fresh start would be best for all concerned.”

Despite lifting the Champions League in his first season on Merseyside, repeated failure on the domestic front and frustration over his transfer budget have led to the exit. Star players Steven Gerrard, Fernando Torres and Javier Mascherano were also rumoured to be considering their future if Benitez stayed.

Benitez has, however, been linked with a quick return to the sport and is being considered to replace Jose Mourinho at Inter Milan.


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