Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Aurelio On Reds Comeback Trail

Liverpool's Brazilian defender Fabio Aurelio has come through his first run-out since April following a ruptured Achilles tendon.

Aurelio played the first-half of a reserve match against Crewe, which Liverpool won 2-1.

Aurelio, who sustained the injury in the first leg of last season's Champions League quarter-final at PSV Eindhoven, came through 45 minutes to suggest his return to the fold is imminent.

Saturday's Premier League trip to Portsmouth is likely to come too soon but boss Rafael Benitez will be keen to have Aurelio back to full fitness to provide cover, especially after he missed out on signing Gabriel Heinze from Manchester United at the end of the transfer window.

Liverpool To Retain Pako On Gardening Leave

Liverpool are in the process of thrashing out a release deal for Rafa Benitez's assistant coach Pako Ayesteran. However, with other Premier League sides set to offer a deal to the Spaniard, Liverpool are set to hold onto him as long as they can - even to the extent of offering him 'gardening leave'...

Liverpool are retaining assistant manager Pako Ayesteran on gardening leave as club and coach alike thrash out a resignation process for the coach.

'Gardening leave' is generally used by employers seeking to fulfil their contractual notice period to their employees but also instructing them to stay away from the premises.

This can have the effect of giving the outgoing employee some time off, or some time to look for a new job. In this instance, though, it is to prevent Pako from signing on with another club.

Liverpool are reportedly concerned that Chelsea and Manchester United are interested in landing the 44 year old, renowned for his physical coaching expertise, and are set to make it difficult for them to do so.

It was announced at the end of August that Pako, long-standing confidant and assistant to Liverpool coach Rafael Benitez would leave to forge his own path, the English tabloids speculating over a breakdown in communication between the two.

Benitez would not elaborate on why Pako, who had followed him from Tenerife to Valencia and finally to Anfield, had opted to leave his post.