Eleven years on from sitting in the top seat at Anfield, Rafa Benitez will now take the helm less than a mile away at Goodison Park after agreeing to a three-year contract.
In doing so, the Spaniard becomes the first former Liverpool manager to go on to take the top job at Everton and only the second to manage both clubs after William Edward Barclay in the 1890s.
It was made official on Wednesday, with Benitez now faced with the uphill task of turning Everton‘s fortunes around as he is now their fifth permanent manager in five years.
It’s a move that has led to mixed reactions on both the red and blue sides of Merseyside since links first emerged.
It was taken too far earlier in the week with a disgraceful banner placed outside of his family home in Liverpool, but it would have the opposite of its intended effect as it instead galvanised support behind his appointment.
His credentials alone speak volumes and since leaving Liverpool he has overseen Inter Milan, Chelsea, Napoli, Real Madrid, Newcastle and most recently he had a spell in the Chinese Super League with Dalian Professional.
Nevertheless, reaction to the news remained split:
Nah lads, I hate this. What the hell? https://t.co/ICafZMp6Sy
— Green Scouser (@Green_Scouser) June 30, 2021
Fuckin’ hell Rafa lad https://t.co/0IORajifYD
— forzathereds (@forzathereds) June 30, 2021
Man that looks weird. Going to take some getting used to. https://t.co/lwZcFsYlUX
— Henry Jackson (@HenryJackson87) June 30, 2021
— Chris Mac (@chrismackop) June 29, 2021
Nice to see Rafa Benitez back in the prem, just really wish it wasn’t for Everton
— Matt (@MattyhFPL) June 30, 2021
— Leanne Prescott (@_lfcleanne) June 30, 2021
Rafa to Everton done. Not sure how to feel. It just looks all kinds of weird. pic.twitter.com/L2KytV2eV5
— The Redmen TV (@TheRedmenTV) June 30, 2021
Deserves a better job, they don't deserve him. pic.twitter.com/vivoxdRbyv
— LFCZA ?? (@LFCZA) June 30, 2021
“Every single club I was there, I was fighting for them. If you analyse things in the context, what you are expecting from your manager is to fight for your club, and I will do that,” Benitez said on his Everton arrival.
Liverpool’s first scheduled meeting with Benitez’s Everton comes on November 30 at Goodison Park, with the reverse fixture at Anfield not until April 23.