Liverpool's Pepe Reina Admits to Benitez Preference, but Skipper Says Otherwise

Michael KohCorrespondent IIIJune 1, 2012

SWANSEA, WALES - APRIL 28:  Swansea manager Brendan Rodgers reacts during the Barclays Premier league match between Swansea City and Wolverhampton Wanderers at Liberty Stadium on April 28, 2012 in Swansea, Wales.  (Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images)
Stu Forster/Getty Images

The Mirror reported that new Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers faces a "battle to win over the Liverpool dressing room," as Pepe Reina admitted he and "many" other players would have welcomed backed Rafa Benitez with open arms.

“For many of my colleagues and me, Rafa Benitez would be the ideal candidate," Reina said.

“It’s that I’m not objective about it, but he is the coach who shaped me most. He is the best.”

This adds fuel to a fire burning 10 stories tall amongst Liverpool fans.

Why wasn't Benitez among the candidates? Who should have been picked for the job? 

It doesn't matter now. Rodgers is the boss at Anfield and he will be for at least another season. 

Like Rafa, Rodgers is another one of those footballing geniuses. If Fenway Sports Group thinks the Northern Irishman is right for the job, then so be it. 

Liverpool skipper Steven Gerrard, currently training for the highly anticipated Euros, backed the new appointment and voiced his excitement over Rodgers (h/t

"I'm excited, I'm really looking forward to working with Brendan," Gerrard said. "We shared a phone call last night and I'm really looking forward to meeting him in person and getting started.

"When he was in the running for the job, I was speaking to the Chelsea boys and some of the players who had worked with him as well. They all spoke highly of him, said he was a good coach and a good guy: very honest and supports his players very well. That's all you ask for as a player."

LECCE, ITALY - NOVEMBER 10:  Rafael Benitez, head coach of Inter Milan before the second half of the Serie A match between Lecce and Inter Milan at Stadio Via del Mare on November 10, 2010 in Lecce, Italy.  (Photo by Giuseppe Bellini/Getty Images)
Giuseppe Bellini/Getty Images

"What I can go on record and say is that Brendan was the first choice. I was in the loop all the way through the last few weeks with the Liverpool board and owners—and Brendan Rodgers was the first choice."

Gerrard had the presence of mind to ask players from the Chelsea squad about his new boss to get an idea of what kind of man Rodgers is. Their answers seemed all positive.

Considering Rodgers' track record, Liverpool fans have nothing to worry about.

The former Swansea boss plans to take the Reds back to top four contention, with an eye on the league trophy—of course, the man has some big shoes to fill.

Rodgers said the following on the league (h/t Yahoo! Sports).

"It has been over 20 years since they won the title. We might not be ready for the title but the process begins today, it's a new cycle, and that is something that we will work towards in the years to come.

"I'm really excited and I can't wait to get started on this incredible project going forward. I promise to dedicate my life to fight for this club and defend the great principles of Liverpool Football Club on and off the field."

Although it might take years for Liverpool to take the trophy, FSG and their choice of Brendan Rodgers is a step towards those goals.