One of the worst-kept secrets in Italian football right now is that it looks like a near-lock that Napoli are going to lose Rafa Benitez at the end of the season. The partenopei have seen a bad slump in form of late under the Spaniard, and with Rafa's contract expiring and multiple offers from the club rejected this season, it's looking increasingly probable that he's going to walk away from Naples come season's end.
The common belief is that Rafa wants to manage in England again to be closer to his family, who still live in Liverpool. Rafa has drawn criticism at times in his two seasons with Napoli for frequently leaving during international breaks to spend time with his wife and daughters in England, despite how perfectly understandable such a decision is. Rumor mongers have periodically linked Rafa with an Anfield return because they don't care about logic or the fact that Brendan Rodgers is gainfully employed there with no sign of that coming to an end.
But what if Rodgers wasn't Liverpool's manager next season? What if he leaves for another job or something disastrous happens between now and the end of the season and he gets fired? Would you want Rafa Benitez back?
Benitez achieved some great things while in charge at Liverpool, winning the Champions League and FA Cup in his first two years with the club. He also orchestrated one of Liverpool's best league campaigns in the Premier League era before falling four points short of eventual champions Manchester United.
It wasn't all shiny and happy, though. There were bizarre and frustrating transfer decisions under his purview, most notably forcing Xabi Alonso out the door. Part of that was the cash-strapped mentality of Liverpool's then-owners, but his transfer policies haven't exactly worked out completely perfectly since then, either. Rafa's last season at Liverpool was a poor one, with his tactical rigidity costing Liverpool at times and his bizarre rotation policy hurting them at others, two factors that have given his teams problems in recent years as well.
While nostalgia would certainly demand Rafa's return to Anfield, more practical concerns would seem to raise a few red flags. Would Rafa really be the right man for Liverpool as we currently know it? Or would belief in the Spaniard and his methods override any misgivings?