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A Season on the Brink: Rafael Benitez, Liverpool and the Path to European Glory

Guillem Balague

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Biography: general, Prose: non-fiction

Biographical Portrait of Liverpool's Spanish football manager Rafael Benitez and an extraordinary season for the club.

When Rafael Benitez was appointed manager of under-achieving Liverpool at the start of the 2004-2005 season, the reaction from many fans was 'Who the hell is Rafael Benitez?'. A Spaniard with a wonderful record at Valencia was going to take over management of Liverpool's famous Boot Room and try and win over a disillusioned Kop.

But in one season, Benitez's importation of Spanish players, coaching methods and diet has led to a revolution, with the team ending the season winning the ultimate trophy for any European club - the European Champions League. No fan will ever forget the comeback from a 3-0 deficit to a 3-3 scoreline, then dramatic success in the penalty shoot-out. This is the story of Rafa's remarkable success.

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Guillem Balague

Guillem Balague is a Spanish football journalist, prizewinning author and pundit, first for Sky Sports and now for BBC Radio 5 Live. He is the author of A SEASON ON THE BRINK - A PORTRAIT OF RAFA BENITEZ'S LIVERPOOL (2006); the first biography of PEP GUARDIOLA (2012); MESSI (2013); CRISTIANO RONALDO (2015), the Football Book of the Year at the Cross Sports Book Awards; and the bestselling Brave New World - INSIDE POCHETTINO'S SPURS (2017). He is chairman of non-league Biggleswade FC, and lives in Hitchin in Hertfordshire.

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