Pepijn Lijnders named as new Salzburg manager – Liverpool coach joins as assistant

Pepijn Lijnders has been confirmed as the new head coach at Red Bull Salzburg, with Jurgen Klopp‘s right-hand man stepping out on his own after his Anfield departure.

Liverpool’s assistant manager was confirmed to be leaving the club in the immediate aftermath of Klopp’s news earlier this year, instantly ruling himself out of taking over at Anfield.

On Tuesday, reports emerged over Salzburg’s interest in Lijnders, but that has quickly escalated to an announcement, with the Dutchman confirmed to be taking over for the 2024/25 season.

Vitor Matos, Liverpool’s current elite development coach, will join him in Austria as assistant coach.

On the announcement of the news, Lijnders said: “I am very proud to become the new head coach of FC Red Bull Salzburg.

PARIS, FRANCE - Saturday, May 28, 2022: Liverpool's elite development coach Vitor Matos (L) and first-team development coach Pepijn Lijnders before the UEFA Champions League Final game between Liverpool FC and Real Madrid CF at the Stade de France. (Photo by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

“This is a real privilege for me. After PSV Eindhoven, FC Porto and Liverpool FC, I am now moving to another exceptional club with a really good structure and a particular focus on youth development.

“I want to develop a mentality with the team that places a lot of emphasis on attacking style of play and where passion and hunger for success are the basis of everything.

“Together with my assistant coach Vitor Matos and the entire support team, we will do our best to help the club continue to grow in an ever-changing football world.

“My family has visited the city before and was overwhelmed by its beauty and the friendliness of the people. That was the last and important step for me in choosing FC Red Bull Salzburg.”

Lijnders’ only previous experience as a manager was a brief spell in charge of NEC Nijmegen, but he quickly returned to Liverpool as assistant manager in 2018/19.

Salzburg sacked Gerhard Struber last month, with sister club FC Liefering’s Onur Cinel stepping up on an interim basis.

A win for Liverpool?

SAALFELDEN, AUSTRIA - Monday, July 25, 2022: Liverpool's first-team development coach Pepijn Lijnders (L) and elite development coach Vitor Matos arriving before a training session at during the club's pre-season training camp in Austria. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

The club already have a strong existing relationship with the Red Bull group, but Lijnders’ presence could further that connection.

Michael Edwards, FSG’s new CEO of Football, has struck up friendships within Salzburg and Leipzig and this latest development could be a useful avenue in the short to medium-term.

This could extend to loans to the Austrian side, with Lijnders and Matos huge advocates of youth and have intrinsic knowledge of Liverpool’s production line at the academy.

It will certainly be interesting to keep an eye on!