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One of Brendan Rodgers' first challenges on Merseyside could be to gain the support of players and supporters alike as the keeper revealed his preferred choice for the new boss

Liverpool goalkeeper Pepe Reina has revealed that he and “many” of the first-team squad wanted former manager Rafael Benitez to be restored at the Anfield helm.

The 52-year-old left by mutual consent at the end of the 2009-10 season following an early exit from the Champions League and a disappointing seventh-place finish.

With Brendan Rodgers appointed as Kenny Dalglish’s successor on Friday, the news could undermine the former Swansea City boss.

Speaking to Radio Marca, Reina said: “For many of my colleagues and me, Rafa Benitez would be the ideal candidate.

“It’s that I’m not objective about it, but he is the coach who shaped me the most. He is the best.”

And Liverpool legend Robbie Fowler also threw Benitez’s name into the ring for a possible return to the club.

The Spanish manager, who guided Liverpool to Champions League triumph in 2005, enjoys strong support among fans and former players and the veteran striker believes he would be best placed to put the club back on the right competitive footing.

Fowler told Paddypower.com: “My old boss, Rafa Benitez, who was an early contender to go back to Anfield, would have learned from his mistakes and could have done a job there again.

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