Rafa arrives at Anfield

16 June 2004

In the summer of 2004 the French revolution that marked Gerard Houllier's tenure as Reds boss was finally brought to an end and in its place Liverpool put their faith in the 'Rafa-lution.'

It saw former Valencia coach Rafael Benitez Maudes arrive at Anfield charged with ending the club's 14-year wait for the league title and saw him become the first Spaniard to have the honour of managing Liverpool Football Club.

Having led Los Che to two La Liga titles in just three seasons as well as a UEFA Cup success, the Spaniard was one of the most sought after coaches in Europe and certainly had the credentials required to lead the Reds back to the summit of English football.

In his first interview with Liverpool's official website he admitted his move to the Premier League was like a 'dream.'

"It was like a dream because, in Spain, when you think about the Premier teams in England you always think about Liverpool. Sometimes Arsenal, Chelsea and Manchester United, but always Liverpool. Everyone who knows their football in Spain knows about the history of Liverpool Football Club. We know about the Beatles also! 
"For a football professional like myself, Liverpool is the most important club in England. I am a very proud man because never did I think that one day I would be sitting here today talking to you as Liverpool manager."

The news Reds boss also had an important message for the fans ahead of his first season in English football.

"What I want to say to the fans is that I need time," he said.

"But I am very, very happy and excited to be here. For me it is a challenge and one I will relish. As I said in the press conference, I haven't come here to learn English, I've come here to win. I think it's important that myself, the club, the fans and the players share the same spirit."

While Benitez would take time to come to terms with the style of the Premier League, he would exceed all expectations in Europe, leading the Reds to a Champions League title against all the odds, at the end of what was a rollercoaster first season at Anfield.