Benitez not expected to appoint a new No.2

September 3, 2007

Liverpool boss Rafael Benitez is set not to replace his departing assistant Paco Ayestaran.

The Basque coach has not officially left the club after a major fall-out with the man he has sat beside for 11 years with Tenerife, Valencia and now Liverpool.

The club and Benitez's right-hand man are in discussion over the termination of Ayestaran's contract and an announcement is expected later this week.

Benitez has remained tight-lipped about the reasons for the breakdown in his professional relationship with Ayestaran, but said: 'It was a great week, we scored four and six in front of our own fans and that makes me happy.

'But on a personal basis I am disappointed with what has happened. He (Ayestaran) is talking to the club, but the situation will not change.'

But sources at Anfield do not expect Benitez to appoint a successor to his assistant.

The situation came to a head during training last week at Melwood, and Ayestaran was immediately sent on leave and was not at the club on Saturday for the 6-0 win over Derby.

Now it is believed that Benitez will take a more hands-on control of training with first-team coach Alex Miller having a bigger role to play.

Ayestaran's fitness work will be absorbed by the club's two fitness coaches.

Paco de Migue was appointed this summer to work alongside Antonio Gomez, with that decision made, it is believed, with Ayestaran's approval.

Liverpool have also imported a new goalkeeping coach this summer in Xavi Valero, who had a spell as Wrexham's keeper a few years back.

Benitez has also recently appointed a Melwood administration officer, David Bygroves.

And that also took away some of Ayestaran's work as the fall-outs continued.

Ayestaran - who has a sports science degree - was in sole control of team administration and fitness training.

But during the summer, Benitez changed some of the training regimes and has taken a far greater hands-on approach at Melwood.

There has been speculation that Ayestaran declined to be on the club's pre-season team photo and was even not sitting next to the manager on the team coach.

It had been known for some time that Ayestaran had been looking elsewhere for employment.

He was interviewed for the director of football role at Athletic Bilbao, but did not get the post when his backer failed to win the club's elections.

The backroom staff Benitez brought with him when he arrived from Valencia three years ago has now been broken up.

Former coach Paco Herrera and goalkeeping coach Jose Ochotorena are also recent departures, with the reasons believed to be amicable.