Liverpool's search for a new manager narrowed last night, as Andre Villas-Boas fell out of the running.
The club felt that the former Chelsea manager was enough of a prospect that they made discreet contact with his representatives before Kenny Dalglish's dismissal. But Liverpool now appear to have decided that the 34-year-old is not a candidate.
Villas-Boas's agent created the impression yesterday that his client had a number of clubs seeking his services, though there appear to be fewer offers than he suggested.
The list of possible managers still includes Wigan Athletic's Roberto Martinez, and there is also the prospect of Fenway Sports Group going back to Brendan Rodgers of Swansea City, who rejected an initial approach because of the number of candidates being considered.
Louis van Gaal is a prime contender for a new sporting director's role, though the Dutch view is that the 60-year-old former Ajax and Netherlands coach, who has been out of work since he was sacked by Bayern Munich 13 months ago, would prefer the manager's job.
The prospect of Rafael Benitez returning seems to be very remote, despite the launch of an online "#talktorafa" campaign by fans. A source close to the Spaniard has indicated that Benitez is willing to prove himself again at Liverpool, where he won the Champions League seven years ago. The allure of Liverpool remains greater than any other job available, in Benitez's mind.