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"I Have a Very Good Relationship With Liverpool" Says Rafa Benitez

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Rafa Benitez made his Anfield return with a team Liverpool fans don't hate, and was appreciative of the very warm welcome he received.

Did I choose to write about Rafa so that I could use this picture? You be the judge.
Did I choose to write about Rafa so that I could use this picture? You be the judge.
Clive Brunskill/Getty Images

Despite not having managed Liverpool FC in nearly six years, Rafa Benitez remains a popular figure on Merseyside. The man at the helm of the club's 2005 Champions League winning side returned to Anfield on Saturday with his relegation-fighting club Newcastle United and was greeted to a rousing hello from fans of his former side.

"It's very emotional," Benitez said after the match that ended in a 2-2 draw. "The fans, the city, the club - I have a very good relationship with Liverpool obviously. My family still live here.

"It was emotional because the Liverpool fans were singing my name and afterwards the Newcastle fans were singing my name so really pleased to have this reaction and really pleased to get a point against a very good team. Hopefully now they can do well in the Europa League."

If it was Rafa's aim to provoke a reaction that might help Liverpool dig deep and rediscover the form they've been in for the last month for their Europa League match against Villareal on Thursday, then mission accomplished. Liverpool will need to muster more than what they left out on the pitch on Saturday if they want to come away with a positive result, but they'll take heart in knowing at least one Spaniard will be rooting for them.