According to recent reports, Rafa Benitez has yet again expressed an interest in returning back to Merseyside as the manager of Liverpool. The ex-Liverpool gaffer was quoted saying:
“I was really proud to be the Liverpool football club manager, so I would like that in the future …… But Kenny is doing a good job and I have no rush (for that) now. Maybe I would have to wait – five years, three years, 20 years – I don’t know! ….. But I’m still young, so I have time and I will keep moving forward.”
However, with Kenny Dalglish at the helm and the players, fans and owners, and apparently even the media, all pledging their support to The King, Rafa surely understands that realization of his desire is practically impossible.
So, is this the end of the road towards Anfield for Señor Benitez? Fortunately for Benitez, there could be a way in through assuming the preceding Carlos Queiroz role at Manchester United. Although this proposal does have many advantages, including having all the tactical knowledge and experience of the Spaniard in hand, which are not to be underestimated, there are certain risks to consider before deciding if this proposal has any chance of being successful.
The most risk to consider is perhaps the egos. This includes that of Steve Clarke as well as Benitez. Would Benitez accept being at a sharing number 2 role at Anfield with Clarke? Would Clarke accept this?
Regarding Benitez, I do not foresee why he would not accept this, particularly given the lengthiness of his unemployment, his unwillingness to join anything less than a major club in the Premier League and the opportunity to work with and get exposed to a totally contrasting style of management from a Reds legend, at least until he finds a job that suits his ambitions, in a similar way that Queiroz did twice at United when offered the opportunity to manage the Portugal national team and Real Madrid.
As for Clarke, I do not think that this would be an issue given that he initially joined Liverpool as a first team coach, assuming a number 3 role behind Kenny Dalglish and Sammy Lee. Obviously, Kenny would have to carefully manage this in order to avoid repeating the Houllier/Evans disaster.