As preseason got underway, a few new faces joined the ranks—notably Fabinho and Naby Keita—but a great deal of intrigue has surrounded an old face who wasn’t there, Jürgen Klopp’s long-time assistant coach, Zeljko “The Brain” Buvac. In his stead, Pepijn Lijnders, fresh off of his short-lived managerial spell at second division Dutch side NEC Nijmegen, returned to Liverpool as part of Klopp’s backroom staff.
“It’s good. It’s very, very good. We sent him away for half a year to get very important experience and to have him back now feels just fantastic,” Klopp said to the club’s official site.
“When he came in the building, everybody was really delighted about that and was really happy about it.
“He’s a fantastic person and a fantastic coach, so it’s really important that we have him back and I’m really looking forward to working together with him.”
Lijnders was one of the few holdovers from the Brendan Rodgers era, but managed to impress Kloppo enough to keep the Dutchman on board.
Whether Klopp can continue to be as successful without Buvac is an open question. Despite past blow-ups, the two have been coaching together since Klopp’s promotion from player to manager in the spring of 2001 at Mainz 05.
That said, having another respected coach in a similar position to bounce ideas off of can only be a good thing, and will hopefully help the transition. And there’s every possibility that it could be a benefit, bringing new and needed perspectives into the backroom discussions.