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In Pictures: Rafael Benitez's Liverpool highs and lows

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Rafael Benitez continues to be linked with a switch to Juventus, despite protestations from the man himself that he is committed to Liverpool. As Liverpool attempt to reach the Europa League final tonight, we look at the highs and lows of their eccentric manager.

Rafael Benitez continues to be linked with a switch to Juventus, despite protestations from the man himself that he is committed to Liverpool. As Liverpool attempt to reach the Europa League final tonight, we look at the highs and lows of their eccentric manager.

<b>High</b><br/>
Benitez was appointed as manager of Liverpool in the summer of 2004. He joined from Spanish side Valencia and succeeded Frenchman Gerard Houllier at Anfield

<b>High</b><br/> Benitez was appointed as manager of Liverpool in the summer of 2004. He joined from Spanish side Valencia and succeeded Frenchman Gerard Houllier at Anfield

&lt;b&gt;Low&lt;/b&gt;&lt;br/&gt;
The Spaniard was given a harsh lesson in English football during his first crack at the FA Cup. Fielding a weakened side, Liverpool were beaten by Burnley in the third round - the tie being settled by an embarrassing own goal from Djimi Traore.

<b>Low</b><br/> The Spaniard was given a harsh lesson in English football during his first crack at the FA Cup. Fielding a weakened side, Liverpool were beaten by Burnley in the third round - the tie being settled by an embarrassing own goal from Djimi Traore.

&lt;b&gt;Low&lt;/b&gt;&lt;br/&gt;
Liverpool fared better in the Carling Cup that year, but were ultimately beaten 3-2 by Chelsea in the final at the Millennium Stadium.

<b>Low</b><br/> Liverpool fared better in the Carling Cup that year, but were ultimately beaten 3-2 by Chelsea in the final at the Millennium Stadium.

A tight Champions League semi-final was settled by Luis Garcia's 'phantom goal' in 2005, a controversial winner that may or may not have crossed the line. In any case, the goal was awarded and Liverpool progressed to the final.

A tight Champions League semi-final was settled by Luis Garcia's 'phantom goal' in 2005, a controversial winner that may or may not have crossed the line. In any case, the goal was awarded and Liverpool progressed to the final.

&lt;b&gt;High&lt;/b&gt;&lt;br/&gt;
Benitez's finest moment came in that final when they staged arguably the greatest comeback in European history. 3-0 down to AC Milan at half-time, an inspired Steven Gerrard led the team out for the second half in which the Reds equalled the score. Liverpool won the match on penalties and were crowned European champions for the fifth time in the club's history.

<b>High</b><br/> Benitez's finest moment came in that final when they staged arguably the greatest comeback in European history. 3-0 down to AC Milan at half-time, an inspired Steven Gerrard led the team out for the second half in which the Reds equalled the score. Liverpool won the match on penalties and were crowned European champions for the fifth time in the club's history.

&lt;b&gt;High and Low&lt;/b&gt;&lt;br/&gt;
Liverpool would go on to win the Uefa Super Cup in Monaco but were beaten 1-0 by Sao Paulo in the final of the Fifa Club World Championship in Yokohama.

<b>High and Low</b><br/> Liverpool would go on to win the Uefa Super Cup in Monaco but were beaten 1-0 by Sao Paulo in the final of the Fifa Club World Championship in Yokohama.

&lt;b&gt;High&lt;/b&gt;&lt;br/&gt;
Liverpool started 2006 well, beating Manchester United in the fifth round of the FA Cup. It was the first time they had beaten their arch rivals in the competition for 85 years.

<b>High</b><br/> Liverpool started 2006 well, beating Manchester United in the fifth round of the FA Cup. It was the first time they had beaten their arch rivals in the competition for 85 years.

&lt;b&gt;High&lt;/b&gt;&lt;br/&gt;
Benitez's side went on to win the FA Cup that year, beating West Ham on penalties in one of the greatest finals ever seen.

<b>High</b><br/> Benitez's side went on to win the FA Cup that year, beating West Ham on penalties in one of the greatest finals ever seen.

&lt;b&gt;High&lt;/b&gt;&lt;br/&gt;
During his time at Anfield, Benitez has made a huge number of signings. Those brought to the club include Fernando Torres, Xabi Alonso and Pepe Reina - some of the best players to have graced the Premier League.

<b>High</b><br/> During his time at Anfield, Benitez has made a huge number of signings. Those brought to the club include Fernando Torres, Xabi Alonso and Pepe Reina - some of the best players to have graced the Premier League.

&lt;b&gt;Low&lt;/b&gt;&lt;br/&gt;
Yet Benitez has also signed some turkeys. Ryan Babel (£11.5m), Robbie Keane (£19m) and Alberto Aquilani (£20m) are among some of the more high-profile signings who have failed to impress.

<b>Low</b><br/> Yet Benitez has also signed some turkeys. Ryan Babel (£11.5m), Robbie Keane (£19m) and Alberto Aquilani (£20m) are among some of the more high-profile signings who have failed to impress.

&lt;b&gt;Low&lt;/b&gt;&lt;br/&gt;
Benitez's squad selection has been regularly questioned during his time at Anfield. In January 2007, a weakened Liverpool teams were beaten twice by Arsenal in three days and dumped out of both the FA Cup and Carling Cup.

<b>Low</b><br/> Benitez's squad selection has been regularly questioned during his time at Anfield. In January 2007, a weakened Liverpool teams were beaten twice by Arsenal in three days and dumped out of both the FA Cup and Carling Cup.

&lt;b&gt;High/Low&lt;/b&gt;&lt;br/&gt;
Later that year, George Gillett and Tom Hicks completed their takeover of Liverpool, promising Benitez vast amounts of money to help the Merseyside team end their title drought.

<b>High/Low</b><br/> Later that year, George Gillett and Tom Hicks completed their takeover of Liverpool, promising Benitez vast amounts of money to help the Merseyside team end their title drought.

&lt;b&gt;High&lt;/b&gt;&lt;br/&gt;
Liverpool beat Barcelona at the Nou Camp in the 2007 Champions League with a devastatingly effective display. On the score sheet was Craig Bellamy, who celebrated with a mock golf swing following allegations he'd attacked team-mate John Arne Riise with a golf club during preparations for the match.

<b>High</b><br/> Liverpool beat Barcelona at the Nou Camp in the 2007 Champions League with a devastatingly effective display. On the score sheet was Craig Bellamy, who celebrated with a mock golf swing following allegations he'd attacked team-mate John Arne Riise with a golf club during preparations for the match.

&lt;b&gt;Low&lt;/b&gt;&lt;br/&gt;
After once again overcoming Chelsea in the semi-finals, Benitez took Liverpool to their second Champions League final in three years. And once again they faced AC Milan in the final, but this time there was no great comeback and they lost to the Italians 2-1.

<b>Low</b><br/> After once again overcoming Chelsea in the semi-finals, Benitez took Liverpool to their second Champions League final in three years. And once again they faced AC Milan in the final, but this time there was no great comeback and they lost to the Italians 2-1.

&lt;b&gt;Low&lt;/b&gt;&lt;br/&gt;
Towards the end of the year, the relationship between Benitez and Liverpool's American owners began to show signs of strain. Benitez claimed the pair didn't understand football while Hicks told the Spaniard to concentrate on coaching the team.

<b>Low</b><br/> Towards the end of the year, the relationship between Benitez and Liverpool's American owners began to show signs of strain. Benitez claimed the pair didn't understand football while Hicks told the Spaniard to concentrate on coaching the team.

&lt;b&gt;Low&lt;/b&gt;&lt;br/&gt;
During a close title race in 2009, Benitez began to hit out at fellow manager Alex Ferguson. His most notorious rant came in the 'facts' press conference. Unfurling a piece of paper, the Liverpool boss read out a pre-prepared critique of the United manager. He claimed Ferguson was the only manager to escape punishment over disciplinary breaches, that he played 'mind games' because he was scared of Liverpool, Chelsea should employ 'zonal marking' on United's coaches to stop them influencing referees, Ferguson was 'killing referees' and sarcastically suggested the United manager should arrange all the fixtures in his office. Throughout the tirade, Benitez repeatedly insisted he was only stating the 'facts'.

<b>Low</b><br/> During a close title race in 2009, Benitez began to hit out at fellow manager Alex Ferguson. His most notorious rant came in the 'facts' press conference. Unfurling a piece of paper, the Liverpool boss read out a pre-prepared critique of the United manager. He claimed Ferguson was the only manager to escape punishment over disciplinary breaches, that he played 'mind games' because he was scared of Liverpool, Chelsea should employ 'zonal marking' on United's coaches to stop them influencing referees, Ferguson was 'killing referees' and sarcastically suggested the United manager should arrange all the fixtures in his office. Throughout the tirade, Benitez repeatedly insisted he was only stating the 'facts'.

&lt;b&gt;High&lt;/b&gt;&lt;br/&gt;
With Liverpool still pushing for the title, they recorded a memorable 4-1 victory over Manchester United at Old Trafford. In the end it wasn't enough to swing the title in Liverpool's favour, but it suggested Benitez was forming a team that could challenge at the top.

<b>High</b><br/> With Liverpool still pushing for the title, they recorded a memorable 4-1 victory over Manchester United at Old Trafford. In the end it wasn't enough to swing the title in Liverpool's favour, but it suggested Benitez was forming a team that could challenge at the top.

&lt;b&gt;High&lt;/b&gt;&lt;br/&gt;
Benitez signed a new contract last summer, keeping him at Anfield until 2014.

<b>High</b><br/> Benitez signed a new contract last summer, keeping him at Anfield until 2014.

&lt;b&gt;Low&lt;/b&gt;&lt;br/&gt;
This season, Liverpool have been far short of the mark. Knocked out during the Champions League group stage, likely to miss out on qualification for next year's elite European competition and poor runs in the domestic cups. For the first time since he took charge at Anfield, the fans have begun to show signs of discontent with his leadership. Rumours are rife that he will leave this summer. Yet, despite all their problems, Liverpool could lift the Europa League trophy and Benitez could stay on under new (and potentially) improved ownership. With Benitez, we can only be sure it'll be a rollercoaster of a ride.

<b>Low</b><br/> This season, Liverpool have been far short of the mark. Knocked out during the Champions League group stage, likely to miss out on qualification for next year's elite European competition and poor runs in the domestic cups. For the first time since he took charge at Anfield, the fans have begun to show signs of discontent with his leadership. Rumours are rife that he will leave this summer. Yet, despite all their problems, Liverpool could lift the Europa League trophy and Benitez could stay on under new (and potentially) improved ownership. With Benitez, we can only be sure it'll be a rollercoaster of a ride.

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Rafael Benitez continues to be linked with a switch to Juventus, despite protestations from the man himself that he is committed to Liverpool. As Liverpool attempt to reach the Europa League final tonight, we look at the highs and lows of their eccentric manager.

Liverpool manager Rafael Benitez has been linked with a move away from Anfield at the end of the season.

>>Click on the image to launch our guide.

Whatever the future holds, from winning the Champions League to his rant about 'facts', the Spaniard has enjoyed many highs and lows during his time on Merseyside. Here, we take a look at his most memorable moments.

Source: Independent


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