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Wagner Out: Does It Mean Anything For Liverpool?

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Probably not but let’s take a walk with Klopp and his bestie.

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Huddersfield Town v Liverpool FC - Premier League Photo by Mark Robinson/Getty Images

News broke on Monday, following the losses of the weekend for the Terriers, that David Wagner and Huddersfield Town have parted ways by mutual consent. Huddersfield achieved the impossible last year under his stewardship, reaching the Premier League for the first time ever and stayed up, but now sit firmly in last place after winning 2 of 22 matches and only gaining eleven points all season. It’s a sad place for a team such as them to find themselves in and Wagner approached the board and told them he needed a break.

“BUT this is a Liverpool site!” You scream. “Why do we care??”

Ah yes. Because you know why.

Jürgen Klopp and David Wagner have been friends for a very long time. Best friends, you could say, as Wagner was the best man at Klopp’s wedding. That much we all know and I’m not really here to give you any information you don’t - regarding this at least.

It’s this friendship that of course makes the news about Wagner leaving Huddersfield so intriguing. Klopp and Wagner have a long history of working together as well, first at Mainz in the early 90’s and then together at Dortmund. They care about each other and work well with each other. It was Klopp who helped advise Wagner into taking the Huddersfield job in the first place, shortly after he joined Liverpool in 2015. Rumors swirled even then if Wagner was going to follow Klopp to Liverpool and work by his side once more, but he wanted to stay a little longer at Dortmund first. He also didn’t quite want to play second fiddle and wanted to go after a bigger position. (That’ll come up again).

So now what? Wagner is out of a job and by all appearances, Klopp might have an open position considering the mysterious departure of former assistant Zeljko Buvac on personal leave of absence back in the Spring of 2018. Of course, that position has been temporarily filled Pep Ljinders and judging by Liverpool’s results this year, Ljinders has been doing just fine in the role. I use temporarily loosely only because it doesn’t look like Buvac is coming back any time soon but has yet to be officially announced by Klopp or the club (he’s still listed on the official club website as part of the first team staff).

Does this mean Klopp is going to make room for Wagner to join his team? Doubtful. As nice as a story it would be, considering they have played and worked together for nearly 30 years, Klopp seems pretty happy with his own staff right now. He’s presumably keeping Buvac’s position open should he decide to return, but after almost a year of absence and continued silence regarding the situation, that might not happen.

Becoming Klopp’s assistant after carving out a small little space for himself in the Premier League would be a bit of a step down for Wagner as well, even for a Championship manager. He left Dortmund to manage a senior team, so downgrading to assistant is probably not on his list of things to do. He also cited needing a break from the rigors of football managing, and you’d have to assume that would include taking an assistant position - in the middle of the season - with another Premier League team.

So really, does it mean anything for Liverpool? Not really. But there are definitely consoling phone calls happening between our German bros and probably a beer or two shared at some point.

Could this all change? Absolutely. Liverpool could confirm Buvac’s absence, essentially announcing the “open” position and Klopp could hire Wagner at the end of the season, regardless of what happens with Liverpool’s season. Wagner himself might go ahead and take another job in the Summer (there’s bound to be a couple in the PL) and make a comeback to management. Who knows? I haven’t figured out crystal balls yet.

The thing is, though, that we’re all looking for a nice little story of best friends working together again and there’s no harm in that. Reality can wait for a minute, because it’s truly the worst.