Stage set for Rafael Benitez’s sensational return to Liverpool?

Liverpool ended the 2014/15 Premier League season in disappointing fashion, losing 6-1 to Stoke City at the Britannia Stadium. Given their woeful end to the campaign and their poor form in the last few weeks, all this could prove costly for manager Brendan Rodgers, who in his post-match comments hinted that his future was uncertain at Anfield.

Former Liverpool manager Rafael Benitez is among the favourites to replace him, as the Spaniard is a free agent this summer, but Benitez is now strongly linked with a Real Madrid job. Supporters were chanting Benitez’s name in the final match, providing clear indication of how they feel towards the current incumbent. Jurgen Klopp left Borussia Dortmund after the German domestic season came to a close, and Real Madrid’s Carlo Ancelotti is set to be shown the door after a trophyless campaign, so there are a host of coaches that could come in for Rodgers.

He appears resigned go his own fate too, saying in the post-match interview: “(I‘ve got to apologise) to the supporters because it was nowhere near good enough There’s a lot of reflecting to do. Yes, absolutely (there‘s pressure building on me). I’ve always said if the owners want me to go, then I go. I still feel I’ve got a lot to offer. A lot has happened this year which has made the job difficult, but I totally understand (if they relieve me of my duties).”

Almost a plea of mercy from the Liverpool boss, but it is likely to fall on deaf ears after a season of underachievement. The Merseysiders enjoyed a run of 10 wins and two draws between December and March, but the club’s form prior to and following this successful stretch is likely to go against Rodgers when Liverpool’s hierarchy decides his future. They finished 6th in the table, 22 points worse off than their tally of last season, with their highest position throughout the campaign being only 5th.

The Reds hardly threatened to finish in a Champions League spot, and their poor results against the sides close to them in the standings was a real disappointment. From the club’s view, it is highly unlikely they will ever have such respected managers all available in one summer, so it does appear as though Rodgers will not survive the chop. Benitez is certainly one sentimental option, but he is likely headed to Madrid.

Liverpool are desperate to be a Champions League side once again and both Ancelotti and Klopp have the experience to settle down and improve the fortunes of the side, in particular with the resources available to them. With Ancelotti being aggressively pursued by Milan, will Klopp be the next manager at Anfield or will Benitez make a shock return?

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