Benitez claims his loyalties are SPLIT between Liverpool and Everton

Who are you kidding, Rafa? Benitez claims his loyalties are SPLIT between Liverpool and Everton ahead of tonight’s Merseyside derby… leaving Jamie Carragher completely bemused after his acrimonious spell at Goodison Park

  • Rafa Benitez claims his loyalties between Liverpool and Everton are split
  • Spaniard is only one of two managers to have coached both Merseyside clubs
  • He spent six trophy-laden years at Liverpool before a disastrous stint at Everton

Rafa Benitez has claimed that his loyalties between Liverpool and Everton are split ahead of tonight’s Merseyside derby, leaving Reds icon Jamie Carragher completely stunned.

Liverpool and Everton will play out the 242nd Merseyside derby at Anfield on Monday evening but Benitez has refused to favour a side, given he is one of only two managers to have coached both teams.

The Spaniard enjoyed plenty of success during his six-year stint at Liverpool between 2004 and 2010, where he famously won the Champions League in 2005 before going on to win the UEFA Super Cup and FA Cup the following season, adding a Community Shield to his Anfield collection in 2006.

Then, in 2021, Benitez made the jump across Stanley Park to Goodison, but was sacked after just 13 games in charge following a disastrous stint at Everton. But while some Everton fans found it difficult to forget his Liverpool roots, Benitez claims he still has a strong connection with both sets of supporters.

‘When I first arrived at Anfield I was surprised by the people, they were very friendly, they tried to help with adapting to the new place from day one,’ Benitez wrote in a forthcoming book by Peter Kenny Jones titled, Crossing the Park: The Men Who Dared to Play for Both Liverpool and Everton.

Rafa Benitez claims he cannot choose between Liverpool and Everton ahead of tonight’s derby

Benitez’s claim left Liverpool legend Jamie Carragher stunned on social media

‘Then at Everton, there were a lot of friendly people, but the difference was that some looked at you differently, they couldn’t forget the past with Liverpool.

‘I feel at home in Merseyside, my family is completely at home here and that is important. 

‘The Liverpool fans are still kind and close today, many of the Everton fans know what actually happened and are, let’s say, friendly.

‘I can’t say I’m more Liverpool or Everton today. Logically, in six years there were a lot of highs at Liverpool, but I still have good friends amongst the Everton fans.’

Benitez (right) famously won the Champions League as Liverpool manager in 2005

The claim from Benitez has left his former player and Liverpool icon Carragher stunned, who put two ‘mind-blown’ emojis in a tweet when learning about the Spaniard’s admission.

It’s a situation Carragher knows all too well, given how he was a boyhood Everton fan but would later switch allegiances to Liverpool having played his entire career for the Reds. 

Benitez chose to reflect on the good times at both clubs, rather than the bad, considering he only spent six-and-a-half months as Toffees boss.

And while the Champions League win in Istanbul is one of his biggest highs, a league win for Everton will live long in the memory for the 62-year-old.

However, he was sacked after just 13 games in charge of Everton following a disastrous reign

Benitez insists he cannot pick between Everton and Liverpool after managing both clubs

Benitez added: ‘My best moment with Liverpool was the Champions League in 2005, along with many other good memories; the worst moment was the feeling towards the end that something was changing for the worse and that I had to leave.

‘With Everton, the best moment was the 2-1 win in December against Arsenal.

‘I’d rather not talk about the bad moments. I don’t think that managing Everton tarnished my reputation at Anfield; the Liverpool fans understood that my family and my home are here and that I hadn’t been managing for a while, so many accepted this.’

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