Souness admits he was ‘mystified’ by Benitez, Everton appointment

Liverpool legend Graeme Souness admits he was left “mystified” when Rafael Benitez took the managerial job at Everton.

Benitez was appointed Toffees boss in June – a highly controversial move given his previous time in charge of Liverpool.

It was a major gamble by club owner Farhad Moshiri, and it has failed to come off.

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Last month, Moshiri stood by Benitez, stating that the 61-year-old would be given time to get things right with new signings and injured players coming back.

However, the return of players like Dominic Calvert-Lewin has not seen an improvement, and the Spaniard was relieved of his duties on Sunday.

Saturday’s 2-1 defeat at bottom club Norwich was the ninth loss in 13 Premier League matches, with the Toffees winning just once during that spell.

Everton sit 15th in the table, only six points above the relegation zone.

“Benitez, I was mystified when he took that job because he’s worked in Liverpool, I think he still lives in Merseyside, he knows the strength and feeling between the two clubs,” Souness told Sky Sports.

“It would be nigh on impossible… there’s very few players have made that cross to go to the other club. For a manager to do that? Nah.

“Especially his brand of football would not be something the Evertonians would have been looking forward to and indeed in these 200 days they have enjoyed.”

Speaking after Benitez’s departure was confirmed, former Liverpool striker Robbie Keane said he believed that “it was always going to be difficult” for the ex-Newcastle boss.

“I think Rafa’s a top manager, but to go from Liverpool to Everton which is a few miles away, and what he did at Liverpool in terms of the trophies that he won, it was always going to be difficult,” Keane said.

“When you go to a club you have to start off quickly and get results behind you to get the trust of the fans. He didn’t do that.

“Losing nine games in 12, the writing’s always going to be on the wall.”

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