Benitez influenced by Fiorentina days gone by

Liverpool boss Rafa Benitez has revealed that he spent three days studying training methods at Fiorentina in the mid-90s as the Spaniard prepares to return to Florence with Liverpool.

The Reds go to the Stadio Artemio Franchi for their second Champions League group stage match tomorrow night, kicking off at 7.45pm.

And Benitez has fond memories of the club from his few days in Tuscany.

“Gabriel Batistuta was there at the time,” he said. “I was watching a training session and he was joking with the fitness coach. It was a good time and they trained very well.

“I remember we had to cross the road to get to the facilities at the training ground. It was a special situation because the fans were around.

“I was only there three days but they were training so well and I was impressed.”

Benitez added that he has a secret love for the city of Florence, which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, lying on the River Arno.

He added, “I see how they are getting on in the Italian league and I have some friends at the coaching school in Florence. I have been there three or four times.

“I like the city and I like the people. For everyone in the city it will be amazing to see two of the best teams in Europe.”