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Apr, 10, 2013

Rodgers unfazed by Rafa comments

Brendan Rodgers insists he can understand Rafa Benitez's desire to manage Liverpool again - and is not worried about that wish being made public.

• Blog: Summer plans needed

Chelsea boss Benitez was quoted in Spanish newspaper Marca on Tuesday as saying that he would "almost certainly" manage Liverpool again at some stage.

Benitez, who was in charge at Anfield between 2004 and 2010 before leaving after a fall out with the club's then-owners Tom Hicks and George Gillett, still has his family home in the Wirral.

His contract as interim manager at Stamford Bridge expires at the end of this season, and he has admitted he does not yet know where he will work next season.

But Rodgers, who replaced Kenny Dalglish as manager at Anfield last June, sees Benitez's comments as a sign of just how sought-after the Liverpool job is.

And he also suggested that, had the current American owners Fenway Sports Group wanted to bring Benitez back, they could have done it after Dalglish's exit.

Rodgers said: "Rafa had a successful time here. I think he'll join a list of many managers throughout the world who would love to manage a great club such as this one, especially as he's been here before.

"That opportunity was there in the summer if the owners had wanted to go down that route.

"Rafa was unemployed at the time, so there was an opportunity to do that. But they thought it best to go in a different direction and grow the club in a different way.

"And from that, the board, myself, the players, the club, we've all become one. We're looking to build the club and go forward to have success in the future.

"It's understandable that any manager would want to manage such a great club as this one. It is a truly world-class football club."

Rodgers, whose side are seventh in the Premier League as they prepare to visit his former club Reading on Saturday, insists that Benitez's comments do not bother him.

He added: "It's not a hindrance. Not to me. Before I came here, I'd seen comments about Rafa wanting to be the manager here, and I've seen comments while I've been here.

"It doesn't affect me in my work, in my job, in my relationship with the players, which is very strong. We work very closely together in improving our football.

"We're very stable in terms of our board, and we've got some of the best fans in the world.

"It's not a hindrance for me, It's a pleasure for me to be here. It's a truly remarkable club that many managers would want to manage, not just Rafael Benitez."

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