Rafa leaves Liverpool

Rafael Benitez has left the job as Liverpool manager by mutual consent.

'Rafa' has been in charge of the team for six years with the highlight being winning the Champions League in 2005 during his first season at Anfield.

In a statement on the clubs website this afternoon (Thurs) Managing Director Christian Purslow and Club Ambassador Kenny Dalglish will start the search for a new manager.

On www.liverpoolfc.tv LFC Chairman Martin Broughton said: "Rafa will forever be part of Liverpool folklore after bringing home the Champions League following the epic final in Istanbul but after a disappointing season both parties felt a fresh start would be best for all concerned.''

Rafael Benitez said: "It is very sad for me to announce that I will no longer be manager of Liverpool FC. I would like to thank all of the staff and players for their efforts.

"I'll always keep in my heart the good times I've had here, the strong and loyal support of the fans in the tough times and the love from Liverpool. I have no words to thank you enough for all these years and I am very proud to say that I was your manager.

"Thank you so much once more and always remember: You'll never walk alone."

Tonight (Thurs) hundreds of fans are expected to protest against the departure and the current ownership of the club at Anfield.