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Survey shows fans disillusionment with Liverpool

A Times survey suggests that more than half of supporters at Anfield have lost faith in their manager Rafael Benitez. Only Iain Dowie and Brian Laws, who managed relegated teams, were scored lower by their club's followers than Benitez, who polled an approval rating of 45 per cent at the end of a dismal season in which the Reds finished seventh in the Barclays Premier League and exited the Champions League at the group stage.

The Spaniard has been persistently linked with a move to Juventus this summer and it seems that many on Merseyside would not be sorry to see him leave. Some 49 per cent of respondents marked Benitez below 5 out of 10 when asked: "How do you rate the performance of your club's present manager this season?"

Liverpool fans were almost as critical of their team's players, whose approval rating was 47 per cent, better only than the scores for West Ham United and Hull City.

Dowie, the Hull "management consultant", scored a 33 per cent rating, while Laws, who could not prevent Burnley's relegation, was bottom of the table with 24 per cent.

The extensive survey was conducted for The Times by The Football Fans Census between April 30 and May 14. The views of 5,026 fans were collected, with a minimum of 200 supporters per top-flight club. All were asked the same questions. Approval ratings were calculated as percentages from average scores out of ten.

Referees, in general, the more successful the club, the happier their fans were with the way their matches were refereed.

Fulham supporters were the most satisfied bunch with a 59 per cent approval rating, followed by the clubs who finished in the top four: Chelsea, Tottenham, Arsenal and Manchester United.

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