Serie A side Napoli must ensure they keep Rafael Benitez as manager amid talk of the Spaniard possibly succeeding Brendan Rodgers at former club Liverpool.
The Reds have endured a miserable start to the season following the sale of star striker Luis Suarez to Barcelona, and have failed to replicate the form that last season saw them narrowly miss out on the Premier League title to Manuel Pellegrini’s Manchester City.
And, with the threat of the sack looming large over the Welshman’s head, the Italian giants must ensure they keep their manager at the club in order to secure Champions League football for next season.
The 18-time England champions currently lie 12th in the table, four points above the relegation zone, and also saw their hopes of triumph on the European scene take a huge knock with a 2-2 draw against Bulgarian minnows Ludogrets on Wednesday evening.
Rodgers’s summer signings have failed to fill the void left by the departure of their Uruguayan maverick Suarez, with Mario Balotelli especially poor after returning to English football from Italian side AC Milan.
Article continues below
Simon Mignolet continues to look a player jaded by expectation at one of the world’s biggest clubs, with Dejan Lovren and Adam Lallana similarly disappointing following their arrivals from Southampton.
It looks to be a tricky season ahead and after Benitez’s previously successful spell on Merseyside he looks to be the strong favourite to return to Anfield after a four year absence.
Benitez’s first spell in England’s top flight saw him fail to turn them into league champions, but did see him win four trophies in six years.
The first, and greatest, was the Champions League in 2005, where the Reds rallied to beat Milan on penalties after falling three goals behind at half-time courtesy of Paolo Maldini and a brace from Hernan Crespo. They then lifted the FA Cup a year later, with Steven Gerrard’s stunning brace enough to see them shrug off a stubborn West Ham United on penalties again after the match had ended at 3-3.
He added the Community Shield and Football League Cup to his resume, but left to succeed Jose Mourinho at then European champions Inter Milan.
Napoli are a club who, in spite of selling the likes of Edinson Cavani and Ezequiel Lavezzi, remain one of the finest sides in Italy. Gonzalo Higuain is their undisputed talisman after scoring 24 goals in all competitions last term, with the likes of Marek Hamsik, Lorenzo Insigne and Dries Mertens together combining a potent attack.
Keeping Benitez may also see them require out-of-favour Chelsea flop Mohamed Salah, who could sign after falling behind the likes of Eden Hazard, Andre Schurrle and Willian in the pecking order.
The Italian giants must keep the 54-year-old at the helm. In doing so they could bolster their hopes of future domestic glory.