Rafael Benitez to return to Liverpool? Not likely says Brendan Rodgers

The Chelsea interim-manager is keen to continue working in the Premier League next season

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The Independent Football

Liverpool boss Brendan Rodgers has rubbished suggestions that Rafael Benitez could return to manage at Anfield in the near future.

Benitez, who will leave his post as interim-manager of Chelsea after the climax of the current campaign, has proved deeply unpopular at Stamford Bridge but appeared to voice his desire to return to the club where he won the Champions League in 2005.

"My idea is to keep coaching a competitive team. Why not in England?" Benitez told Spanish newspaper Marca. "I will return to Liverpool one day almost certainly, I just don't know when, my daughters and wife are still living there."

Rodgers was appointed to his current position in June 2012, replacing club legend Kenny Dalglish. The Northern Irishman had previously enjoyed a hugely successful two-year spell at Swansea, in which time he won promotion and established the club in the Premier League.

"I haven't seen the statements but I've heard plenty of people talk about it," Rodgers said. "Rafa had a successful time here in the period he was here and I think he will join a list of probably many managers throughout the world who would love to manage a great club - especially having been here before.

"Obviously that opportunity was there in the summer if the owners wanted to go down that route as Rafa was unemployed and not working. But they felt it best to go in a different direction and develop the club in a different way. And from that the board, players, myself and the club have all become one in looking to move forward and build success for the future."

Rodgers also insisted that the speculation surrounding Benitez's possible return to Merseyside is not affecting the way he is going about the job.

"It is not a hindrance to me. Before I came here I had seen comments about Rafa wanting to be manager and I've seen comments while I've been here. But it doesn't affect me in my work or my job. My relationship is very strong with the players, we work very closely together on improving our football.

"We are very stable in terms of our board and the manager connection and we have some of the best fans in the world. It is a pleasure for me to be here at a truly remarkable club that many managers would want to manage, not just Rafael Benitez."

Liverpool travel to relegation-threatened Reading on Saturday and a win will keep alive their hopes of qualifying for European football next season.