OFFICIAL: Rafa Benítez parts company with Liverpool

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Liverpool have confirmed that manager Rafa Benítez parted company with the club by mutual consent on Thursday afternoon after six years in charge.

Benítez is believed to have agreed a compensation package, which is believed to be £6million, with the 50-year-old having only recently signed a lucrative new long-term contract.

The Spaniard leaves Merseyside after a disastrous season which saw the Anfield outfit finish seventh in the Premier League, missing out on Champions League football next term.

"It is very sad for me to announce that I will no longer be manager of Liverpool FC," Benítez said in a statement on the club's official website.

"I would like to thank all of the staff and players for their efforts. I'll always keep in my heart the good times I've had here, the strong and loyal support of the fans in the tough times and the love from Liverpool.

"I have no words to thank you enough for all these years and I am very proud to say that I was your manager.

"Thank you so much once more and always remember: You'll never walk alone."

Reds chairman Martin Broughton added: "Rafa will forever be part of Liverpool folklore after bringing home the Champions League following the epic final in Istanbul.

"But, after a disappointing season, both parties felt a fresh start would be best for all concerned."

Club ambassador Kenny Dalglish and managing director Christian Purslow will now lead the search for a new manager with a number of names already believed to be in the frame, including Aston Villa boss Martin O'Neill, Fulham manager Roy Hodgson and newly-appointed Turkey coach Guus Hiddink.

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