Liverpool confirm Benitez exit

Rafael Benitez has left Liverpool by mutual consent after six years as manager.

The club have agreed a compensation package with the 50-year-old after a turbulent 2009-10 season.

Liverpool, having begun the campaign among the title favourites, finished a disappointing seventh in the Barclays Premier League and were eliminated from the Champions League at the group stage.

The Premier League result represented an alarming slide for the club after a runners-up finish the previous season.

Benitez, who memorably led the Reds to Champions League glory in 2005, told the club's official website, www.liverpoolfc.tv: "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."

Benitez succeeded Gerard Houllier in 2004 and earned a place in Anfield legend with European success in his first season.

He followed that with FA Cup victory in 2006 and another Champions League final appearance 12 months after that, but the Premier League title remained elusive.

The past year has been particularly chastening and he failed to deliver on his "guarantee" of a top-four finish.

That has left the club without Champions League football next season and with club debts of £351million, the board are anxious to give the team fresh impetus.

Chairman Martin Broughton 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."

Liverpool will now begin the search for a successor but say no timescale has been put on an appointment.

Former Reds boss Kenny Dalglish, now an academy ambassador at the club, will assist managing director Christian Purslow to identify candidates.

With owners Tom Hicks and George Gillett looking to sell Liverpool, Dalglish himself has been suggested as a possible cheap, short-term option.

However, the likes of Roy Hodgson, Martin O'Neill and Guus Hiddink have already been heavily touted.

Reports the end of Benitez's reign was imminent began to appear last night but it was thought the financial situation could prove a sticking point.

Benitez signed a five-year contract in March 2009 and it was understood immediate termination could cost the club £16million.

That a compromise has been reached quickly, however, will now allow Benitez to seek immediate re-employment elsewhere.

The former Valencia boss, linked with Real Madrid and Juventus in recent months, is now being tipped as a potential successor to Jose Mourinho at European champions Inter Milan.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

The saffron censorship that governs India: Why national pride and religious sentiment trump freedom of expression

The saffron censorship that governs India

Zareer Masani reveals why national pride and religious sentiment trump freedom of expression
Prince Charles' 'black spider' letters to be published 'within weeks'

Prince Charles' 'black spider' letters to be published 'within weeks'

Supreme Court rules Dominic Grieve's ministerial veto was invalid
Distressed Zayn Malik fans are cutting themselves - how did fandom get so dark?

How did fandom get so dark?

Grief over Zayn Malik's exit from One Direction seemed amusing until stories of mass 'cutting' emerged. Experts tell Gillian Orr the distress is real, and the girls need support
The galaxy collisions that shed light on unseen parallel Universe

The cosmic collisions that have shed light on unseen parallel Universe

Dark matter study gives scientists insight into mystery of space
The Swedes are adding a gender-neutral pronoun to their dictionary

Swedes introduce gender-neutral pronoun

Why, asks Simon Usborne, must English still struggle awkwardly with the likes of 's/he' and 'they'?
Disney's mega money-making formula: 'Human' remakes of cartoon classics are part of a lucrative, long-term creative plan

Disney's mega money-making formula

'Human' remakes of cartoon classics are part of a lucrative, long-term creative plan
Lobster has gone mainstream with supermarket bargains for £10 or less - but is it any good?

Lobster has gone mainstream

Anthea Gerrie, raised on meaty specimens from the waters around Maine, reveals how to cook up an affordable feast
Easter 2015: 14 best decorations

14 best Easter decorations

Get into the Easter spirit with our pick of accessories, ornaments and tableware
Paul Scholes column: Gareth Bale would be a perfect fit at Manchester United and could turn them into serious title contenders next season

Paul Scholes column

Gareth Bale would be a perfect fit at Manchester United and could turn them into serious title contenders next season
Inside the Kansas greenhouses where Monsanto is 'playing God' with the future of the planet

The future of GM

The greenhouses where Monsanto 'plays God' with the future of the planet
Britain's mild winters could be numbered: why global warming is leaving UK chillier

Britain's mild winters could be numbered

Gulf Stream is slowing down faster than ever, scientists say
Government gives £250,000 to Independent appeal

Government gives £250,000 to Independent appeal

Donation brings total raised by Homeless Veterans campaign to at least £1.25m
Oh dear, the most borrowed book at Bank of England library doesn't inspire confidence

The most borrowed book at Bank of England library? Oh dear

The book's fifth edition is used for Edexcel exams
Cowslips vs honeysuckle: The hunt for the UK’s favourite wildflower

Cowslips vs honeysuckle

It's the hunt for UK’s favourite wildflower
Child abuse scandal: Did a botched blackmail attempt by South African intelligence help Cyril Smith escape justice?

Did a botched blackmail attempt help Cyril Smith escape justice?

A fresh twist reveals the Liberal MP was targeted by the notorious South African intelligence agency Boss