One of the most jarring and depressing moves of the past season wasn’t expected like Coutinho or Emre Can. It was the sudden departure of Jürgen Klopp’s longtime assistant Zeljko Buvac, just before the second leg of the Champions League semifinals.
Rumors still surround the circumstances of Buvac’s surprising exit from Klopp’s backroom staff, as he is still technically employed by Liverpool FC and was quoted as leaving for “personal reasons.” While he has been linked with a number of fairly high profile managing positions since leaving, Buvac has effectively disappeared - and isn’t expected to come back at this point.
James Pearce at the Echo reports that his exit is expected to be made official in the coming weeks, as well as the appointment of Pep Lijnders to fill the position. Lijnders himself, brought back this summer following a short stint managing NEC Nijmegen in Netherlands, has been working essentially without a title while the Buvac situation gets resolved as much as possible.
Lijnders is expected to take over Buvac’s position as Klopp’s assistant, and has already taken on more training duties alongside Peter Krawietz during the preseason. Lijnders previously worked under Klopp as his first team development coach and his bridge between the Academy and Melwood, and is credited with helping bring along Ben Woodburn and Trent Alexander-Arnold to the senior squad.
The confirmation is definitely not a great one for those of us who were holding out for the hopeful return of Klopp’s “brain” but Pep has been an invaluable resource for Klopp since joining his team in 2015. If Klopp trusts him to fill the void Buvac has left, he must be worth his salt in the backroom.