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Lee returns as assistant manager

Liverpool have today confirmed that Sammy Lee will return to Anfield in the role of assistant manager.

The former Reds midfielder has agreed to a third spell at the club as a replacement for first-team coach Alex Miller, who left to take over as manager of Japanese outfit JEF United Ciba last week.

The 49-year-old first made an impression with Liverpool during the halcyon days of the late 1970s/early 1980s when, as a player, he helped the all-conquering Reds to three League titles, four League Cups and two European Cups before moving to QPR in 1986, with later spells at Osasuna, Southampton and Bolton.

He returned to Liverpool as reserve team manager under Graeme Souness in 1993 and maintained his role in the backroom staff under both Roy Evans and Gerard Houllier, with the latter promoting him to first team coach.

He would remain at Anfield until the summer of 2004, playing a valuable role in the treble success of 2001, until the arrival of Rafael Benitez coincided with Lee's decision to leave the club for a full-time position within the England camp.

He returned to the Premier League in June 2005 as assistant to Sam Allardyce at another former club, Bolton, where he would eventually take over the hot-seat in April 2007.

However, he was not given time to flourish at the Reebok Stadium and just six months later he was relieved of his duties.

Sammy Lee today spoke of his delight after returning to Anfield as assistant manager to Rafael Benitez.

"I've been away for a while but everyone knows what this club means to me and it's a great pleasure to be back," he told Liverpoolfc.tv.

"When a club the size of Liverpool comes in for you and when a manager of the magnitude of Rafael Benitez wants you then you can't say no. When I found out they were interested in me I was really thrilled.

"After the sabbatical I've had I just wish the season was starting tomorrow, but the players have had a long, difficult and demanding season and they need to get away and get their batteries recharged.

"I've been around Melwood this morning and seen a lot of old faces but a lot of new faces as well. I've shook hands with everyone and introduced myself. There are some great people here and I can't wait to get working with them. It's so nice to be back."

"I was very honoured and privileged to be given the position as Bolton manager. The pride and the honour I felt to be their manager was only outweighed by the sheer disappointment that it didn't go well," he said.

"I have to say the Bolton fans were fantastic towards me. I haven't had the chance to say that before but I want to thank them. Even when results weren't going well they were very supportive towards me and, most importantly, to the players."

But now he's back at the club he has supported since he was a boy, Sammy is keen to play his part in helping the Reds in their quest to win more silverware.

"I think the club has made great progress over the last few years and they were so close to having a great season this time around," he added. "Hopefully we can keep improving and get to where we all want."

Rafael Benitez has welcomed the addition of former Reds midfielder Sammy Lee to his backroom staff.

The Liverpool boss admitted it was a positive step to appoint the ex-Bolton boss as his assistant manager and identified his passion and experience as the key factors in his decision to bring him back to Melwood.

"We are very pleased to have brought Sammy back to Liverpool because he is someone who knows the club really well," said Benitez.

"He also knows about the passion of the club and about the standards that we set here so that will make it much easier for him to settle into his new role.

"But we have not brought Sammy back simply because he used to play for the club and used to work here as a coach.

"He is a very experienced and very well respected coach in his own right and his reputation in football made him the stand out candidate when we knew we were looking for a new member of our coaching staff.

"He will add something different to what we already have and it will be good to work with him.

"I already have a good relationship with him and I will be looking to build on that in the weeks and months to come."

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