Rafael Benitez’s best Liverpool signings and where they are now including Torres

Rafael Benitez sparked controversy on Merseyside by taking charge of Everton over the summer, having previously managed bitter rivals Liverpool.

Benitez, 61, spent successful six years at Anfield, guiding the Reds to a historic Champions League win over AC Milan in 2005 and getting his hands on the FA Cup a year later.

The Spaniard is widely considered one of their greatest ever managers, having inspired a remarkable comeback against Milan which saw them recover from 3-0 down to clinch the European Cup.

He also made a number of terrific signings in his stint as Liverpool boss, and Daily Star Sport have picked out the nine best players he brought to the club.

Xabi Alonso

The Spanish midfielder became an instant hit on Merseyside after joining from Real Sociedad in 2004, proving a bargain for Liverpool at £10million.

Alonso made 210 appearances in five years at Anfield, scoring 19 goals and winning the Champions League and FA Cup.

After leaving for Real Madrid in 2009, where he won another Champions League and La Liga, he won three Bundesliga titles with Bayern Munich before retiring in 2017. Now in charge of Sociedad's B team.

Who do you think was Rafa Benitez's best Liverpool signing? Let us know in the comments section below.

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Pepe Reina

Benitez labelled Reina the best goalkeeper in Spain after forking out £6million to prise him away from Villarreal in 2005 – and he certainly lived up to the billing.

Another Spaniard, the shot-stopper went on to spend eight years with Liverpool, winning the FA Cup and League Cup while making almost 400 appearances.

Now plays for Lazio following spells with Napoli, Bayern, AC Milan and Aston Villa.

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Daniel Agger

Agger sealed a £5.8million switch from Danish outfit Brondby in January 2006, with injury limiting him to just four appearances during his first half-season.

Fitness problems were a consistent them of his nine-year Liverpool career, but he still managed to rack up 232 appearances, score 14 goals and win the League Cup.

Retired in 2016 after a brief return to Brondby and now runs a sewage business, brewery and tattoo parlour.

Dirk Kuyt

One of Benitez's most reliable performers, Kuyt featured 200 times in four seasons under the Reds gaffer after joining from Feyenoord in 2006.

He spent another two years at Anfield following Benitez's departure in 2010, getting on the scoresheet in their 2012 League Cup final win over Cardiff.

Moved to Fenerbahce at the end of that season and enjoyed another stint with Feyenoord before hanging up his boots in 2017. Now coaches their Under-19 side.

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Javier Mascherano

Liverpool initially paid £1.6million to sign the Argentinian star in January 2007, and after impressing in his first half-season he sealed a permanent £18million move that summer.

Mascherano only spent three-and-a-half years at the club and failed to win a trophy in that time, but the fact Barcelona came calling in 2010 speaks volumes about how good he was.

After winning five Spanish titles and two Champions Leagues at Barca, he left to join Chinese club Hebei China Fortune in 2018 and then, following a spell in Argentina with Estudiantes, retired in November of last year.

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Lucas Leiva

The Brazilian midfielder became a Reds stalwart after joining from Gremio in 2007, despite initially taking time to settle in at Anfield.

Over the next decade, Lucas made 346 appearances for Liverpool while emerging as a fan favourite, getting his hands on the League Cup in 2012.

Injury ruined the best years of his career on Merseyside, nevertheless, meaning he left to join current club Lazio in 2017.

Fernando Torres

Perhaps the best player Benitez brought to Anfield, Torres became Liverpool's club-record signing when he sealed a £25million move from Atletico Madrid in the summer of 2007 and he hit the ground running, scoring 33 goals in 44 games that season.

The lightning-fast striker bagged another 48 goals in 96 Reds appearances, before securing a controversial £50million transfer to rivals Chelsea in January 2011 – where his form plummeted disastrously.

El Nino spent four-and-a-half years at Stamford Bridge and then played for AC Milan, returned to Atletico and moved to Japan for a brief stint with Sagan Tosu. Retired from the game in 2019.

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Martin Skrtel

Skrtel became the most expensive Liverpool defender ever after completing a £6.5million switch from Zenit in January 2008, and he was worth every penny.

The Slovakian hardman was a key member of their backline throughout his solid nine-year career on Merseyside, making 320 appearances, scoring 18 goals and winning the League Cup before leaving for Fenerbahce in 2016.

At 36, currently plays in Turkey with Istanbul Basaksehir after a spell in Italy with Atalanta.

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Raheem Sterling

While he didn't actually feature under Benitez, a 15-year-old Sterling arrived at Liverpool from Queens Park Rangers for £500,000 during his final season as manager.

The England star developed into one of the best attackers in European football under Brendan Rodgers, coming close to winning the Premier League in 2013/14 before leaving to join rivals Manchester City for £50million in 2015.

Remains a key player for City and has won three Premier League titles under Pep Guardiola.

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