The former Reds’ defender also revealed that the behavior of the Portuguese cost him the Liverpool job.
Former Liverpool defender Jamie Carragher has explained why The Reds chose to sign Rafael Benitez as manager during the summer break of 2004 over Jose Mourinho, who was basking in the glory of Porto’s Champions League success.
Both managers were sought after by many clubs after their impressive records during that period. Jose Mourinho had won the Portuguese Cup and League titles over two seasons and also lead the team to UEFA Cup and Champions league triumphs in two successive seasons. Meanwhile, Benitez had won his second La Liga title with Valencia in three seasons and lifted the UEFA Cup in 2004.
Mourinho likely had the edge, but Jamie Carragher, speaking on Sky Sports Football Podcast, said Rafa’s management style and demeanor landed him at Anfield.
Speaking on the change brought about in 2004, Jamie Carragher said, “Gerard Houllier had lost his job, and (chief executive) Rick Parry had interviewed Rafa Benitez at some stage.
“He was just keeping the senior players informed about where they were up to, and he did mention Jose Mourinho.”
“I knew much more about Rafa Benitez because of the Spanish football and what he’d done, and it looked that (appointing him) was quite far down the road anyway.
“But I think the feeling was that Jose Mourinho couldn’t be a Liverpool manager, possibly because of the way he conducted himself at times.”
Earlier in 2004, Jose Mourinho became widely known for his antics as he ran down the pitch when Porto scored a 90th minute equalizer at Old Trafford which saw the Portuguese outfit eliminating Liverpool’s arch rivals from the Champions League.
Carragher spoke about the influence of that incident on Mourinho’s appointment at Liverpool, “I think even that run down the line, even though it was great, at Old Trafford, the feeling was at the club and maybe from certain players that it wasn’t really the Liverpool way of doing things.”
“So I always thought we’d go for Rafa with him being a little bit more standoffish.”
Although Rafa Benetiz couldn’t fulfil the dream of winning the Premier League, the Reds went on to feature in two Champions League finals under the Spaniard, winning one in memorable fashion against Italian giants’ AC Milan and losing the other coincidentally against the same opponents. The Spaniard also won the FA Cup and UEFA Super Cup. Meanwhile, Jose Mourinho who was roped in by London outfit Chelsea FC, took the Premier League by storm and sparked new life into the Blues.