Rafa’s praise for people of Merseyside

Rafa Benitez has revealed his joy at the news that Liverpool fan Michael Shields has been released from prison after four years campaigning for his innocence.

The 22-year-old was given a pardon yesterday and released after spending four years behind bars following his conviction for an attack in Bulgaria in the days before the Reds’ Champions League triumph over AC Milan in Istanbul.

And Benitez says Shields’ release is the result of hard work by his family, friends, the club and its supporters.

He said, “I think everyone is really pleased and happy here. We were supporting him. We knew it was a very difficult time for him, his family and all the people involved.

“The people here have shown again how they support someone for a long time. That’s very positive. It was very good support and a good reaction from the people of Merseyside.”