Brendan Rodgers credits Rafael Benitez for Liverpool academy

Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers
© PA Photos
Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers credits Rafael Benitez for the club's academy growth in recent years.

Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers has credited Rafael Benitez for the club's flourishing youth academy.

Rodgers has given full debuts to several graduates from the Kirkby-based complex in his maiden season with the club including Raheem Sterling, Andre Wisdom and Suso.

The former Swansea City manager also made Jerome Sinclair the youngest player to ever play for the club in a 2-1 win over West Bromwich Albion in the League Cup back in September.

Rodgers has said that a lot of the academy's success is down to former manager Benitez, who implemented sweeping changes during his time with the Reds.

"Benitez deserves great credit for the changes he made at the academy," Rodgers is quoted as saying in the Daily Mail.

"There is a greater strength in depth at the academy than there has ever been before and that is down to some of the changes Rafa implemented.

"They helped Brendan at the start of this season when he was able to draw on the talents of Raheem Sterling and others."

Benitez returns to Anfield for the first time since leaving in 2010 when Chelsea play the Reds this afternoon.

Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers on the touchline during his sides match with Manchester City on February 3, 2013
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