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'It Was Always One Or Two Hours Before' - Former Liverpool Striker Dirk Kuyt On Rafa Benitez And Merseyside Derby Day

As Liverpool prepare for the short trip across Stanley Park to take on Everton on Wednesday, Dirk Kuyt has been speaking about how the new Toffees manager and former Red Rafa Benitez used to approach the Merseyside derby.

The Spaniard took charge of Liverpool in 2004 and left in 2010 having won the European and FA Cups.

Rafa Benitez

It was a surprise therefore when he took on the job of Liverpool's local rivals at Goodison Park.

Ahead of the game on Wednesday, Dirk Kuyt has been speaking in his column on about how Benitez always sprung a surprise on derby day and will probably do so again for this match.

'Strange To See'

"It'll certainly be strange to see Rafa managing against Liverpool in a Merseyside derby. But that's just Rafa. He just wants to do his job and to be successful.

"He was always very well prepared tactically for these games. He always had just a little surprise with his line-up. In the derby we've been talking about, I was surprised when he took off our captain, Steven Gerrard, after 72 minutes when it was poised at 1-1.

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Team Selection

"Rafa never made his team clear the day before a game. It was always one or two hours before. In the dressing room the day before, the players would always try to guess what the team would be. We'd never have it right because there was always one surprise.

"Especially with the derby games, he had something special in the team, something special tactically.

"I'm sure he'll come with a tactical surprise for Wednesday – that's Rafa. But Jürgen Klopp may also do the same because he's also a very good coach. I can't wait to watch it."

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