Premier League - Rodgers not expecting Rafa return

Manager Brendan Rodgers has dismissed former boss Rafael Benitez's assertion that he will return to Liverpool in the future.

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Liverpool's manager Brendan Rodgers (Reuters)

The Northern Irishman said American owners Fenway Sports Group had the chance to appoint the Spaniard in the summer but opted to recruit him from Swansea instead.

Benitez, whose appointment as Chelsea interim manager earlier this season prompted an unprecedented hostile backlash from Blues fans, has suggested he could take charge of his former club again.

"My idea is to keep coaching a competitive team. Why not in England?" Benitez, whose success in winning the Champions League in 2005 means he still holds a special place in most Liverpool fans' hearts, told Spanish newspaper Marca.

"I will return to Liverpool one day almost certainly, I just don't know when, my daughters and wife are still living there."

Rodgers was appointed in the summer when FSG decided to dispense with Reds icon Kenny Dalglish and look for a different way forward. Their faith in the appointment, even after a frustratingly up and down season, has given him the necessary confidence to not be intimidated by former managers looming large in the background.

Benitez is set to leave Stamford Bridge at the end of the season but the current Reds boss does not feel threatened.

"I haven't seen the statements but I've heard plenty of people talk about it," Rodgers said.

"Rafa had a successful time here in the period he was here and I think he will join a list of probably many managers throughout the world who would love to manage a great club - especially having been here before.

"Obviously that opportunity was there in the summer if the owners wanted to go down that route as Rafa was unemployed and not working. But they felt it best to go in a different direction and develop the club in a different way."

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