Famed for his rant about “the facts” and a hilarious goatee beard, Rafael Benitez is now being heavily supported to make a dramatic return to Liverpool.
Paddy Power pulled the plug on Kenny Dalglish getting the boot after news that the Yanks want showdown talks with the King, drove his exit odds down from 7/4 to 5/4.
Since then punters have stormed in on Rafa to be the next permanent manager, backing him off the boards from 33/1 to 4/1!
After being sacked at Inter 18 months ago, Benitez has been chilling out and moved back to England to live in Liverpool (rumours that he was waiting for the Tranmere job are unconfirmed). He’s now perfectly placed for a move back to the club he managed between 2004-2010 and where he famously won the Champions League and FA Cup.
Ahead of him in the market is Wigan boss Roberto Martinez, who is favourite for the Anfield post as well as the Villa job. The performances at the DW Stadium of late suggest Martinez is destined for bigger things, and it seems the pull of almost seven fans might not be enough to keep him at Wigan.
Other names amongst the front runners with Paddy Power seem to have obstacles in their way. Jose Mourinho is a 9/1 shot but he has had a good season with Madrid and his relationship with Liverpool fans could be described as ‘shocking’ at best.
Martin O’Neill is 10/1 but only last December joined his boyhood club Sunderland, whilst Unai Emery of Valencia and Barca’s Pep Guardiola are 10/1 and 11/1 respectively.
Jamie ‘Mr Liverpool’ Carragher makes an appearance in the betting at 14/1. He could make the move to the dugout after some dodgy performances this season hint that his career on the pitch is coming to an end.
Darren Haines, spokesman for Paddy Power, said, “Whichever way it is dressed up all the stats point to a season in the league where Liverpool’s win percentage was their worst since 1954. Punters think Dalglish’s time could be up and are now betting on his successor in their droves”.