Jermaine Pennant makes bold claim over Rafa Benitez’s impact at Liverpool

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Everton boss Rafa Benitez has been criticised over his time at Liverpool despite winning the Champions League.

Benitez brought the Reds their long-awaited fifth Champions League title and almost brought them a sixth after reaching the final again two years later, this time losing to AC Milan.

That achievement means the Spaniard was treasured by Liverpool fans for his efforts at the club, despite never managing to win the Premier League at Anfield.

That legacy may well have been tainted this summer after he decided to succeed Carlo Ancelotti at rivals Everton, joining a now two-man list of managers to spend time at both Merseyside clubs.

But according to former Liverpool winger Jermaine Pennant, Benitez’s role at Liverpool might have been overplayed anyway amid his lack of man-management skills.

“Look, it’s different for every player, different players will react differently with Rafa,” Pennant said on the talkSPORT.

“But in my eyes he wasn’t a great man-manager. His skills in that department were lacking.

“Steven Gerrard and Jamie Carragher have also made this publicly known as well, that they felt it was difficult.

“I felt it was difficult to approach him, have a conversation and maybe talk about certain situations on and off the pitch.

“He wouldn’t come up to you, he wouldn’t grab you by the side and have a chat about whatever you need to discuss. He kind of left it to Gerrard.

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Jermaine Pennant in action for Liverpool

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“Especially to big games, at half-time if things weren’t going very well, it wouldn’t be him pointing fingers and shouting instructions and telling you what needs to be done to win this game, it would have been Steven coming in giving you an effing and blinding.

“Playing back then, I wouldn’t want to annoy Gerrard first, and then my manager. Steven was the player-manager!

“I think every player will take it differently with him.”

Pennant three years with Liverpool, arriving in the season after that Champions League win, and he was part of the squad to miss out on the Champions League title in 2007.

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