Champions League semi-finalists Liverpool have lost the services of boss Jurgen Klopp's trusted aide Zeljko Buvac on the eve of their biggest match for a decade. It is this behaviour that led to the coach stepping aside following Saturday's goalless draw against Stoke City, rather than any specific argument with Klopp, but the timing of his exit represents a significant setback to Liverpool's preparations for Roma.
It was reported on Friday morning that Buvac had left Liverpool, although the Reds quickly clarified to BBC Sport that he was still employed by the club and was only on leave until the end of the season.
The assistant manager was once "heavily involved" in substitutions during games, but Liverpool must now make do without the man Klopp dubbed "the brain" of his coaching team.
Buvac is said to have complemented Klopp's more impulsive urges with a more cerebral approach, a tactician and training-ground technician who worked on attacking positional drills with players.
Klopp and Buvac played together at Mainz in the early 1990s. That agreement has held for 17 years - at Mainz, Borussia Dortmund and Liverpool - and though first team coach Peter Krawietz is also a key part of Klopp's backroom team it is Buvac who carries greatest influence.
Like Buvac and Klopp, Ayesteran was perceived as crucial to the club's success under Benitez and the club never managed to replicate the heights they reached in the years after his departure. "You see more than if only one man is looking".
"If it is necessary, I get up from the bench and that is okay", he said.
The Reds are preparing for Wednesday's Champions League semi-final second leg against Roma, having won last week's first leg at Anfield 5-2.