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Page last updated at 11:28 GMT, Wednesday, 14 January 2009

Benitez undergoes third operation

Rafael Benitez
Benitez has been confined to the stands since his first operation

Liverpool manager Rafael Benitez is to undergo a third operation for his troublesome kidney stone complaint.

Benitez, 48, will return to hospital for surgery on Wednesday but hopes to be back at work next week for league and FA Cup derbies against Everton.

Assistant Sammy Lee, who will lead team preparations in the absence of Benitez, said the Spaniard remained "buoyant".

Benitez last underwent surgery in December and has watched matches from the directors box since then.

Lee told the Liverpool website: "It's a difficult time for him because, you know Rafa Benitez - all he wants to do is be out there on the training pitch with his players. That's his forte. But he's still buoyant.


"He's going for the third operation but we're hoping it won't keep him out for too long - hopefully just a couple of days.

"All credit to Rafa for what he's put in place. His attention to detail and organisation means that, if any one of us is missing, there won't be a blip."

Benitez's first operation came just days after his Chelsea counterpart Luiz Felipe Scolari was taken to hospital with the same complaint.

Benitez, who has revealed he is close to signing a new deal at Anfield, has recently been embroiled in a series of verbal exchanges with title rivals Manchester United.

In the build-up to last weekend's games, which saw Liverpool held 0-0 at Stoke, Benitez accused United manager Sir Alex Ferguson of bullying officials - Ferguson responded by branding the comments "ridiculous".

Then, on Monday, Benitez targeted Old Trafford chief executive David Gill by suggesting his position on the FA board could create a conflict of interest.

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see also
Benitez 'close' to Liverpool deal
13 Jan 09 |  Liverpool
Benitez turns on Man Utd's Gill
12 Jan 09 |  Liverpool
Ferguson hits back in Benitez row
12 Jan 09 |  Liverpool
Stoke 0-0 Liverpool
10 Jan 09 |  Premier League
FA to review Benitez complaints
10 Jan 09 |  Liverpool
Benitez lays into rival Ferguson
09 Jan 09 |  Premier League
Rafael Benitez statement
09 Jan 09 |  Liverpool
Rafa recovers from kidney surgery
16 Dec 08 |  Merseyside

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