What is Rafa Benitez's record at Old Trafford?

Wednesday 04 August 2021 07:00

Manchester United's pre-season campaign reaches its final fixture on Saturday, as we welcome Everton and an old familiar face to Old Trafford. We're talking, of course, about new Toffees manager Rafael Benitez.

The Spaniard has a long and dramatic history of managing teams against United, dating back to his spell with the Blues' neighbours, Liverpool.
Benitez took the reins at Anfield in 2004, and was one of Sir Alex Ferguson's bete noires during a six-year spell on Merseyside. He went on to manage Chelsea and Newcastle, and has now been tasked with leading Everton forward.
The two-time La Liga winner (with Valencia) is sure to get a frosty reception on Saturday due to his former association with our great rivals, but Benitez has enjoyed some memorable moments at the Theatre of Dreams during a long career.
Here we look back on the 61-year-old's 10 visits to M16 thus far. It's been quite the ride...
Goal of the Day: Ferdinand v Liverpool Video

Goal of the Day: Ferdinand v Liverpool

‘Goodness me, Rio Ferdinand!’ We're celebrating our former centre-back's birthday, with this effort from 2006...

UNITED 2 LIVERPOOL 1 (2004/05)

Benitez's first experience of English football's most tempestuous fixture came on a wet and inhospitable Monday night at Old Trafford, where two headers from an unlikely hero, Mikael Silvestre, earned United three league points, despite a John O'Shea own goal. United's defenders gathered the majority of the headlines that night, in fact – it was also the match where Rio Ferdinand made his return to action after an eight-month ban for missing a drugs test.

UNITED 1 LIVERPOOL 0 (2005/06)

Ferdinand was the headline-maker again when the Scousers next returned to OT, too. The match remained goalless until the dying minutes, when the Londoner rose highest to head Ryan Giggs's free-kick past Pepe Reina. Gary Neville particularly enjoyed this one, as you may remember from his euphoric, badge-kissing celebration.
UNITED 2 LIVERPOOL 0 (2006/07)

Without a title since 2003, United started the 2006/07 season in blistering form, as Rooney and Ronaldo put their lovers' tiff at the World Cup to one side and set about terrorising the nation's defences instead. But it was Paul Scholes, on the occasion of his 500th United appearance, that got the ball rolling in this encounter, before Ferdinand menaced Liverpool once more, this time via a soaring, left-footed half volley.

UNITED 3 LIVERPOOL 0 (2007/08)

The following season saw arguably Sir Alex Ferguson's last great United team produce one of their most dominant performances in a season that would climax in a league and European Cup double. Wes Brown's header opened the scoring, before Cristiano Ronaldo and Nani scored within three minutes of each other to get Old Trafford really rocking. Benitez was still yet to witness one of his teams find the net in M16.
Enjoy the highlights from our memorable 3-0 win against Liverpool in 2008.
UNITED 1 LIVERPOOL 4 (2008/09)

Benitez's best Old Trafford moment undoubtedly came in the spring of 2009, as Liverpool duked it out with Ferguson's men for the Premier League title. Despite an early Cristiano Ronaldo penalty, Liverpool put four past a usually watertight United defence to condemn us to our heaviest home defeat in 17 years. When the Reds lost again at Fulham the following weekend, the Merseysiders were singing about a first title in 19 years. But despite this famous triumph at the home of their greatest enemies, a dramatic Federico Macheda goal against Aston Villa would ultimately turn the title race in our favour. The end result? United lifted a third consecutive Premier League to match Liverpool's all-time record of 18 top-flight championships.

UNITED 2 LIVERPOOL 1 (2009/10)

Normal service was resumed the following year, when United overturned an early header from the thorn in Nemanja Vidic's side, Fernando Torres, thanks to goals from Wayne Rooney and Ji-sung Park. It was Benitez's final match at Old Trafford as Liverpool boss – the Spaniard's departure was confirmed just a few months later.
Goal of the Day: Park v Liverpool Video

Goal of the Day: Park v Liverpool

Ji-sung Park was a player for the big occasions. In 2010, he scored this diving header against our arch-rivals...

UNITED 2 CHELSEA 2 (2012/13)

Benitez was the surprise choice to replace Roberto Di Matteo at Stamford Bridge in 2012, and brought the Blues to Old Trafford for the first time in this FA Cup quarter-final the following spring. A glorious pass from Michael Carrick teed up Javier Hernandez for the opener, before a Wayne Rooney free-kick missed everyone in the box and doubled our advantage. But Chelsea fought back in the second half, and earned a replay in the capital thanks to goals from Eden Hazard and Ramires.

UNITED 0 CHELSEA 1 (2012/13)

The Madrileno's second win at Old Trafford came in Sir Alex Ferguson's penultimate match at the Theatre of Dreams. United had romped to a record 20th league title weeks before, but a somewhat lacklustre performance was punished by an 87th-minute goal from future Red Juan Mata.
Highlights: United 3 Newcastle 2 Video

Highlights: United 3 Newcastle 2

Watch how the Reds came from behind to secure a dramatic victory over Newcastle at Old Trafford in October...

UNITED 4 NEWCASTLE 1 (2017/18)

Benitez's most recent visits to OT came during his spell with Newcastle United. In November 2017, Dwight Gayle gave the visitors the lead, but United responded emphatically, with goals from Anthony Martial, Chris Smalling and Paul Pogba within 17 minutes, either side of half-time. Romelu Lukaku nabbed himself a goal as the game wound down.

UNITED 3 NEWCASTLE 2 (2018/19)

The Spaniard must have fancied his chances of winning his third game at Old Trafford, when Newcastle took a two-goal lead into half-time in this dramatic encounter in October 2018. United had to wait until the 70th minute for a sniff of any kind of result, when Juan Mata's free-kick found the back of the net. It was all Jose Mourinho's men needed to spur them on: Martial equalised after a neat exchange with Pogba inside the area, and a last-minute header from Alexis Sanchez stole the points.