It had been an open secret for at least a week that Liverpool were brining on Sean O’Driscoll to replace the departed Colin Pascoe and Pepijn Lijnders to replace the departed Mike Marsh. Now, with pre-season training kicking off ahead of another season, the club have made it official.
O’Driscoll is the new assistant manager and Lijnders the new first team coach, and if anything it appears a show of support for manager Brendan Rodgers. Following a poor season, the manager had appeared at risk of losing his job. Instead, two of his subordinates took the fall for an underwhelming 2014-15 campaign.
For many there was an expectation Fenway Sports Group would replace them with their own choices, maybe even brining in a former player with managerial experience like Sami Hyypia to further develop at the club, perhaps with an eye to him eventually taking over. Instead, it’s two coaches picked by Rodgers.
"My admiration for Sean, as a professional, is well documented," said Rodgers of his new assistant, who he has previously spoken of as being one of England’s best coaches. "He is someone with a clear vision and philosophy and has proved he has the ability to transfer that knowledge, through his coaching, to the players."
O’Driscoll arrives after stepping down from his duties as England U19 manager to make the switch to Liverpool. Lijnders, meanwhile, was already at the club, having been in charge of the U16 level at Liverpool’s academy following similar spells managing at the youth level for FC Porto and PSV Eindhoven.
"He has excelled at the Academy and I believe this is the perfect time for him to step up to the first-team set-up and use his talents for the benefit of the senior squad," said Rodgers. "Pep displays a passion and enthusiasm for his profession that is truly infectious and I believe will have a positive impact."