Liverpool presented with Jurgen Klopp dilemma after Pep Lijnders’ admission
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Liverpool could face a major issue after learning that assistant boss Pep Lijnders wants to return to management. Jurgen Klopp’s No. 2 has become a key part of the Reds’ success but they risk losing him for a second time.
Lijnders has held several roles at Anfield, including being an academy coach under Brendan Rodgers.
But he was promoted to an assistant role by Rodgers before keeping the job upon Klopp’s arrival in 2015.
Lijnders and Klopp have formed an excellent relationship and the Dutchman had his boss’ best wishes when he left in January 2018 to take on the manager’s job at NEC in his home country.
The 38-year-old, whose Liverpool deal ends in 2024, lasted only five months in the job before being sacked. He returned to the Merseyside outfit in June 2018.
However, Lijnders has now revealed that he would like another chance at becoming the boss at a club.
Asked about wanting to become a manager ahead of Liverpool’s League Cup win over Leicester last week, Lijnders said: “That’s the plan. That’s the plan but Jurgen knows this.
“This isn’t the time to speak about these things because I have a contract until 2024. When the time comes, I will sit down with my management and will see the options I have.
“But we are in the middle of this project, this beautiful project, and after that I will decide. But definitely, yeah, that’s the plan.
“This is not the moment to speak about these things (becoming Liverpool manager one day).
“I will speak with my management in 2024 and we will see all the options that are on the table.”
Lijnders is one of the favourites to replace Klopp when the German’s own contract expires in the summer of 2024.
He will be Steven Gerrard’s main competition for the job when Klopp eventually departs, whether that be at the end of his contract or further along the line.
Liverpool might want to make an unconditional offer to Lijnders over succeeding Klopp to avoid him departing.
Following his initial departure in 2018, the Liverpool head coach described his assistant as ‘unbelievably important’. They have gone on to win a Champions League and the Premier League together.
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“I am nothing without them,” Klopp said of his coaching staff. “Without them, I didn’t want to do the job – and I couldn’t do the job anymore. That’s how it is.
“Pep [Lijnders] has become unbelievably important in a short time because he writes everything down, he is also part of ‘the brain’ because he is our mind to remember the things what we did in previous sessions.
“He brings us the next coaching generation. We are not old but we are already that long in the business, so it’s normal that you have routines, you use them and they are good.
“We try to stay open all the time, but with Pep he is our connecting point to the present and the future, so that’s really, really important.”
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