Reports in Spain claim Rafa Benitez is Barcelona’s first choice to replace Frank Rijkaard, should the Dutchman leave Camp Nou in the summer.
Rijkaard has come under increased pressure this season as Barca trail arch rivals Real Madrid in La Liga.
Jose Mourinho has been strongly linked with a return to the club where he worked earier in his career, but according to El Mundo Deportivo and Marca, it is Benitez who is favoured by club president Joan Laporta.
Benitez’s future at Anfield has been the subject of conjecture for quite some time, with his well-publicised disagreements with the club’s American owners indicating that all is not well at the club.
Liverpool’s failure to mount a serious challenge for the Premier League title has further weakened Benitez’s position.
However, the Spaniard’s successful spell at Valencia ensures he is not short of admirers in his homeland, with Laporta regarding him as a safer pair of hands that the outspoken Mourinho.