Everton will sign former Liverpool boss Rafa Benitez, according to reports, setting up a quite incredible Merseyside derby. It’ll be a strange one.
We’re set to witness history, it seems. The BBC reports that Everton will announce former Liverpool boss Rafa Benitez as their new manager today.
This would make Benitez the first man since William Barclay to manage both clubs. Barclay was both Everton and Liverpool’s first manager, in 1888 and 1892 respectively.
It’s been some time, then.
Benitez becomes the first to do it the other way round. 11 years after leaving Liverpool, he’ll sign a three-year contract with Everton to replace Carlo Ancelotti.
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And with that, Liverpool fans find themselves in a bizarre position.
Benitez joins Everton
Rafa Benitez is undoubtedly a club legend. He arrived in 2004 in difficult circumstances, seeing as Michael Owen ditched the club soon after.
12 months later, and against just about every odd, Liverpool were champions of Europe for the first time in 21 years. It’s an accomplishment that few have matched – Benitez put Liverpool back where they belong.
An FA Cup followed in 2006 but that would be the final trophy of the Benitez era. He came so close to another Champions League triumph in 2007 and was unfortunate not to win the league in 2009.
And that 2009 side has a very strong claim to being the greatest Liverpool side to not win the title. Benitez built a wonderful team featuring elite players all the way down the spine.
There’s still an argument that it’s the club’s greatest spine of the Premier League era, in all truth. It was truly fantastic.
Everton fans don’t quite look at Benitez the same way Liverpool fans do, of course. For the reason why, read all of the above.
The Toffees are hiring a Liverpool legend to sit in their dugout and that puts Reds in a strange position. We all like Everton’s manager more than they do.
And not in a Sam Allardyce ‘look how bad they are’ kind of way. Benitez is a legend and Everton fans don’t quite see him that way.
When is the Merseyside derby against Benitez?
November 30th. That’s when Liverpool travel to Goodison Park to take on Everton.
It’ll be a bizarre game and we can’t even imagine what the atmosphere will be like. ‘Strange’ comes to mind.
The Anfield derby is on April 23rd but we’ll be honest – we’re not sure Benitez lasts that long. Not because he isn’t brilliant but because there are large portions of that support who will never accept him.
This will be a difficult ride for Rafa. We wish him all the best. We think. Should we? No idea.