Brendan Rodgers will welcome Rafael Benitez back to Anfield tomorrow insisting that he is not intimidated by figures from Liverpool’s past, a claim that he reinforced by leaving the door open for Kenny Dalglish to return to the club.
While all eyes will inevitably be drawn to Benitez’s first game at Anfield since leaving three years ago, it is another former manager who has occupied the thoughts of Fenway Sports Group (FSG), with Liverpool’s owner keen to restore Dalglish to an as yet unspecified role.
Dalglish held talks with John W. Henry, Liverpool’s principal owner, at an hotel in the city this week and Rodgers has made it clear that he would not veto the possibility of his predecessor returning to the club.
Asked if he would be in favour of Dalglish coming back, the Liverpool manager raised no objections and revealed that he is hoping to see a number of past players handed responsibilities in time for the start of the 2013-14 season.
“It’s something I want to do for next season across the club, which is to get former players involved,” Rodgers said. “This is a wonderful football club. With the likes of Jamie Carragher moving on in the summer, I want to look around and see people with a link to the past.
“We will be looking to do that in a number of areas, whether that be through coaching or ambassadorial roles, but there’s nothing concrete at the moment. The most important thing for me is the club, not Brendan Rodgers.”
Benitez takes Chelsea to Anfield tomorrow with Rodgers in no doubt that Chelsea’s interim manager will receive the acclaim he deserves from the Liverpool supporters, having guided the club to Champions League glory in 2005.
“Rafael Benitez will deserve a great welcome when he comes back,” Rodgers said. “He won the European Cup during his time here, which is a great achievement. He is fantastic manager there is no question about that.”