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Benitez in spirited defence of his Liverpool tenure

Former Liverpool boss Rafael Benitez has defended his time at Anfield. Benitez left the club in the summer, but the Reds' struggles have continued under new boss Roy Hodgson, with the team failing to impress in the opening seven weeks of the new campaign.

Benitez, who guided Liverpool to Champions League glory in 2005, told Irish newspaper Sunday Independent: "I was very clear that when I left we had a better squad than we had in the past, and a better team.

"We knew we had to bring in better players.

"We left a good team, a very good team. A lot of people are talking about the legacy but the legacy is fantastic.

"When I left the club, (Javier) Mascherano, (Yossi) Benayoun and (Albert) Riera were there, along with Carra [Jamie Carragher], (Steven) Gerrard, (Jay) Spearing, (Stephen) Darby, (Emiliano) Insua, (Diego) Cavalieri and (Jonjo) Shelvey.

"They cannot talk about legacy when (Christian) Purslow [managing director] and Hodgson signed seven players. They have already changed the squad."

Benitez concedes any mistakes made were down to off-field problems.

The Spaniard added: "It was a long time, it wasn't just one thing.

"The feeling was that something was wrong, we couldn't do what we wanted to do.

"We were preparing the signings and the sales but we could see that we have some targets and we didn't do it."

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