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I'm available says Hiddink

RAFA Benitez woke up today to face the words that could signal the end of his love affair with Liverpool. Guus Hiddink is available for work and he wants to mange in the Premier League.

"I have to speak to the federation president before making any decision on my future, but it is true that I would like to coach in England again," said Hiddink who is expected to step down as Russian coach.

"After all the support I've received from Roman Abramovich, I owe it to them to discuss anything with them first," he added.

With Liverpool fans and Irish Anfield legends split down the middle on whether Benitez should be sacked or retained, the presence of a blue chip alternative in the market offers Tom Hicks and George Gillett a ready made replacement should they choose to wield the axe.

Hiddink headed the list of potential replacements for Benitez, alongside Jose Mourinho,but the Dutchman's availability to start work in the next few weeks could be crucial.

Popular opinion on Merseyside has always been firmly behind Benitez but that support is wavering now and Evening Herald columnist Ronnie Whelan believes he should go right away, while former Republic of Ireland team-mate John Aldridge holds the opposite view.

"He should have gone a long time ago. They have got to do it now," said Whelan, maintaining his belief that Benitez is not the right man for Anfield.

However, Aldridge is firmly in the pro-Benitez camp and believes that a knee-jerk response from the club is the last thing needed right now.

"We can turn the tide. I don't think to get rid of Rafa now is the answer," he said.