Benitez leaves Liverpool helm

Liverpool have confirmed that manager Rafael Benitez will leave the club by mutual consent following a disappointing seventh-place Premier League finish last term.

The club lost 11 league games and they also crashed out of the Champions League group stage after falling to disappointing defeats against Lyon and Fiorentina.

Co-owners Tom Hicks and George Gillett have made the decision to bring change to the beleaguered Anfield-based outfit as they look to put pressure on Chelsea and Manchester United at the top of the league next season.

Benitez's big highlight came at the end of the 2004/05 campaign when the Reds sensationally came from 3-0 down at the interval in the Champions League final against AC Milan to tie the score 3-3.

His team then held their nerve and landed their fifth European Cup following a successful penalty shoot-out.

They also came out on top in another shoot-out the following season as they saw off West Ham United in the FA Cup final after another memorable 3-3 draw but that was as good as it got for Benitez.

A message left by the departing coach on the club's official website read:"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."

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