Rafa Benitez will always hold a special place in the hearts of every Liverpool supporter. Not only for his distinction as one of only four managers to lift the European Cup for the Reds but also for the talent he brought into the side, the Liverpool pride he instilled in his squads and the clear love he had for the club.
With some of the Reds all-time greats having played under him, the Spaniard was asked to name his three best signings from his time at Anfield.
”Pffft. Let me think about this. It’s so difficult,” the 59-year-old recently told The Athletic. “If I’m talking about my players from my time in England, it has to be [Fernando] Torres, [Xabi] Alonso and [Javier] Mascherano.
”If you talk about success and performances at the top level, those players stand out.”
All three signings were distinctly Rafa players who went on to make their mark on Anfield: Alonso starring for the magical 2005 Champions League-winning side, while the trio playing major roles in taking the club back to the 2007 final and collecting a then-club record 86 points in 2008-09 season.
However, even with his sides boasting the likes of these club greats and others such as Pepe Reina and of course Steven Gerrard, Benitez admitted that they are surpassed by the quality Jürgen Klopp has assembled in an ascendant squad.
”I’m really proud of what we achieved in 2005, but I have to say that the 2019 team is stronger already,” Benitez added.
”The team that we had, what we had at this time was great team effort and a lot of character, as well as commitment on the pitch.
”This team have the intensity and the quality that can make the difference in games.”