Former Liverpool manager Rafa Benitez is preparing for his Anfield return three years after leaving the club back in 2010. Benitez spent six seasons at Anfield during which time he managed to win the Champions League title in the most stunning manner. The Spaniard will be returning to Anfield with Liverpool’s rivals Chelsea on Sunday. There has been a lot of talk about the Liverpool fans during a special welcome to Benitez, but the current manager of the club – Brendan Rodgers – has said that the return of one of the former managers does not intimidate him.
Benitez was held in high regard by the fans for the way he guided the club to Champions League success in the most extraordinary manner in 2005. Liverpool were trailing AC Milan 3-0 going into the half-time break, but they managed to come back and win the encounter. It was the fifth European title for the club. Even though Benitez was sacked, fans still loved him and they held him in high regard. Rodgers was appointed as the replacement for Dalglish in the summer. He has already made an improvement over the league position achieved by the club under Dalglish.
However, they remain several points away from the Champions League places.
“There is absolutely no doubt Rafa Benitez will get an excellent reception. Rafa won both the Champions League and FA Cup in his six years here. When you go to a club as a manager, then the cards are dealt differently, depending where you go in. This is a club that we are trying to push on and resurrect and move forward again. They were maybe going another way. It’s no disrespect to anyone who has been before, but the reality is we were eighth last season,” said Rodgers ahead of the match with Chelsea on Sunday.
Monday evening’s game at Anfield sees Liverpool play West Bromwich Albion in the race for European qualification.
The hosts have won just one of their last five matches, and go in to the game on the back of their 2-2 draw at Champions Manchester City last time out.
Brendon Rodgers men currently sit in eight position, though victory here would see them leap-frog Swansea City.
Daniel Sturridge may feature after recovering from a thigh injury, while Raheem Sterling is also poised to return. Philippe Coutinho could make his debut after signing from Inter Milan two weeks ago.
Top scorer Luis Suarez is favourite to open the scoring, and can widely be backed at 4.33 (10/3), whilst Bet 365 offer 7.5 (13/2) for Steven Gerrard to net first.
Liverpool are favourites for the victory at 1.4 (2/5) with Paddy Power, with West Brom as highly priced as the 10.5 (19/2) on offer from Bet Victor and the draw 5.25 (17/4) with the same firm.
The visitors, who sit one place and two points below Liverpool, are without a win in their eight games, and have lost five of their last six in the league.
Goron Popov will miss the game as he begins a three match suspension, though Youssouf Mulumbu is set to return from a knee problem. Peter Odemwingie may be selected after being disciplined for his attempt to force a move to Queens Park Rangers.
Odemwingie is 15.0 (14/1) to get the first goal of the game, with joint top scorers Romelu Lukaku and Shane Long 11.0 (10/1) and 15.0 (14/1) respectively.
Suarez Online video Ranking: / 5