Liverpool have confirmed that manager Rafa Benitez will leave the club by mutual consent after six years in charge.
The Spaniard’s position came under scrutiny after a disappointing season which saw the perennial Champions League qualifiers miss out on next season’s competition, when they finished seventh in the Premier League.
Benitez’s relationship with American co-owners Tom Hicks and George Gillett had become strained in recent months amid claims by the Spaniard that he was not supported in the transfer market.
Benitez, who will be best remembered by Liverpool fans for their remarkable 2005 Champions League triumph, told the club’s official website: “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.”
Liverpool chairman Martin Broughton praised their outgoing manager but claimed that a change was necessary after a miserable season on the field.
He 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.”