Liverpool FC’s top men have heaped praise on Rafael Benitez tonight. Chairman David Moores, the majority shareholder at Anfield, has been a Liverpool fan all of his life, but was recently subject to criticism about the direction the club was going in. After that Gerard Houllier left the club and in came the new Spanish boss – the man that made Liverpool European Champions.
Under Houllier, Liverpool rarely came back if they went a goal down – last night they came back from three down to take the Champions League trophy. Moores said: "Rafa is a magician, a master tactician and a wonderful man. He is a great man, make no mistake about that. I was a Liverpool supporter when we won the first four European Cups and they made me very emotional, but this is my first as a chairman and so it’s extra special. We just want to bring more trophies to the club for these amazing fans. They are the best. We have got just the right man to do that in Rafa."
Moores was speaking to the official Liverpool FC website, as was Chief Executive Rick Parry. Parry is also a life-long Red, and has worked hard to help Liverpool get to their new position as the best team in Europe. Parry said: "Rafa has brought the European Cup back to Liverpool and there were no doubts in our minds whatsoever that he would bring success to the club. I think we went through every emotion last night. It was a wonderful achievement from the boys."
Liverpool have arrived home to a reception from an estimated half a million fans. Like they did at the Ataturk stadium last night, they started later than expected, but they are getting through, albeit at least an hour behind schedule.
The scenes around Anfield and in the city centre in the St George’s Hall area are being described as unprecedented, certainly TV pictures are showing a mess of red and white as they use their helicopters to bring footage to the world.
The open top bus is covered in Red is being closely followed by the Merseyside Police helicopter, keeping an eye on crowd control.
The European Cup, our European Cup, is being held proudly at the front of the bus.
Latest reports are that the parade may not get into the city centre until 10:30pm, if it gets there at all.