After spending the past three-and-a-half years as Liverpool’s first team development coach, tasked with being the bridge between the first team and youth levels, as well as the U16 coach, Pepijn Lijnders today has left the club in order to take on the manager’s job for Dutch side NEC.
Lijnders spent time as a coach at PSV Eindhoven and FC Porto before joining Liverpool under Brendan Rodgers and was kept on by Jürgen Klopp at the behest of Liverpool’s upper management, who saw a talented young manager they believed could play a key long-term role at the club.
“The decision to leave has not been easy,” Lijnders said. “Anfield is such a special place with special people and I never took for granted going to work at one of the greatest stadiums in the world every other week. This club is so, so lucky to have someone of Jürgen’s calibre leading its football team.
“He is world-class, truly world-class, and I hope to take many of the great lessons I learned from him, Zeljko Buvac, Peter Krawietz, and John Achterberg into my own future leading a side. They confirmed every day that everything starts and ends with passion for the game.”
For his part, Klopp sought to specifically thank Lijnders for the role he played in helping him and his coaching staff settle at Liverpool and for his role in pushing for the youth sides to become better integrated with the first team, something Klopp believes will have a lasting impact on the club.
And while Lijnders may be leaving the club today having made a lasting impact on it, the new manager of a side pushing for promotion back to the Eredivisie from the Eerste Divisie—NEC were demoted to it last year and currently sit second—says Liverpool made at least as big an impact on him.
“You don’t really say goodbye to Liverpool Football Club,” he added, “because you will always have to represent its honesty and passion wherever you go. It’s a stamp on your back. I’m proud of each day that I could represent them directly and I will give my best to do so in my next chapter.”