Soccer-'We know where you live': Police investigate banner near Benitez home

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Premier League - Newcastle United v Liverpool
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(Reuters) - Merseyside Police said on Monday they are investigating a threatening banner hung near former Liverpool manager Rafa Benitez's family home on the Wirral, as media speculation intensifies over his appointment as Everton boss.

Images on social media showed a banner reading "We know where you live, don't sign" near Benitez's home.

The Spaniard and his family have lived in the area since the time he took charge of Liverpool in 2004.

"This message has understandably caused some distress and worry for residents in the area," detective inspector Darren Taylor said in a statement.

"Due to the football language used, we suspect that it was aimed at Rafa Benitez - but whoever placed the message left it outside the wrong house.

"If anyone has information about who produced the banner or helped to put it up, please let us know as soon as possible."

British media reported Everton are hopeful of confirming Benitez as Carlo Ancelotti's successor this week after the Spaniard held several rounds of negotiations with owner Farhad Moshiri.

William Edward Barclay, who was in charge of the original foundation of Everton in the 1890s and later the breakaway Liverpool club, is the only person to have managed both Merseyside clubs.

Everton are on the hunt for their fifth manager in as many years after Ancelotti resigned earlier this month to return to Real Madrid.

Benitez faces widespread opposition to his appointment among Evertonians, having previously described them as a "small club" following a goalless Merseyside derby at Anfield in 2007.

The 61-year-old won one Champions League title, one UEFA Super Cup and one FA Cup during his six-year spell at Liverpool.

(Reporting by Hardik Vyas in Bengaluru; Editing by Hugh Lawson)

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