03 June 2010
Liverpool Football Club parted company with manager Rafael Benitez six years to the month after the Spaniard first arrived at Anfield from Valencia.
Having led Los Che to two La Liga titles and a UEFA Cup during his time at the Mestalla, Reds fans hoped Benitez would be the man to finally end the club's 14-year wait for the league title - but it simply wasn't to be.
While the title remained out of Liverpool's reach during the Spaniard's tenure at Anfield, supporters will always fondly remember Benitez as the manager who oversaw the greatest night in the club's history when the Reds fought back from 3-0 down against AC Milan to win the Champions League final on penalties inside the Ataturk Stadium in Istanbul.
An equally dramatic FA Cup final penalty shoot-out win over West Ham followed a year later but despite running Manchester United a close second for the title during the 2008-09 season, the team failed to push on during the manager's final term at Anfield.
It was a season that had promised so much but after two defeats from our opening three games, it ended with Liverpool finishing the campaign in seventh place - 23 points behind champions Chelsea. It wasn't just in the league that the club underperformed either, with the Reds also crashing out of both domestic cup competitions at the first hurdle and the Champions League at the group stage.
When the announcement of a parting of the ways finally came, 25 days after his side had failed to beat relegated Hull on the final day of the season, the club broke the news to supporters on this website.
Liverpool FC statement
Liverpool FC today confirmed that Rafael Benitez is to leave the club by mutual consent.
Mr Benitez relinquishes his position as team manager after six years and the Board of Directors would like to place on record their grateful thanks for his services and wish him all the best in his future career.
The Board has now asked Managing Director Christian Purslow, with the assistance of Club Ambassador Kenny Dalglish, to begin a formal search to identify and assess potential candidates for the managerial position.
No timescale has been placed on the process and Liverpool FC will make no further statement until a new manager is appointed.
LFC Chairman Martin Broughton said: "Rafa will forever be part of Liverpool folklore after bringing home the Champions League following the epic final in Istanbul but after a disappointing season both parties felt a fresh start would be best for all concerned.''
Rafael Benitez said: "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."