KLOPP’S LAST GAME SOUVENIR

LONDON, ENGLAND - Saturday, April 27, 2024: Liverpool's Jürgen Klopp (R) and first-team development coach Pepijn Lijnders during the FA Premier League match between West Ham United FC and Liverpool FC at the London Stadium. The game ended in a 2-2 draw. (Photo by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Liverpool ‘hope Pep Lijnders comes back’ despite already announcing exit

Those within Liverpool hope that Pepijn Lijnders will return to the club in the future, according to a Dutch coach who recently visited the AXA Training Centre.

Lijnders will leave Liverpool this summer along with Jurgen Klopp and many of his backroom staff, with the Dutchman planning to embark on a managerial career.

There have already been claims of interest in his native Netherlands, including Ajax, and even suggestions that he could replace Arne Slot at Feyenoord.

Slot, of course, is set to take over as head coach at Liverpool this summer, marking an impressive rise having started as assistant coach at SC Cambuur.

There, he supported Henk de Jong, who was invited to the AXA Training Centre recently, and giving his impressions in an interview with ESPN, he claimed those within the club have long-term hopes for Lijnders.

Pepijn Lijnders, who had a hard time here once [as manager of NEC Nijmegen], that’s a real gentleman over there,” De Jong reflected.

“The way people in that club talk about that boy is not normal.

“They really hope that Arne does very well, but also that he comes back. I thought that was really nice to experience.”

De Jong is now back working as head coach at Cambuur – his third permanent stint, having vacated the role in 2022 due to health concerns – and is considered a major influence on Slot.

His presence at the AXA Training Centre came following an invitation from Klopp, who told him in a message on ESPN’s Good Morning Eredivisie that he was “always welcome.”

“If you want to see good Dutch, Cruyffian and Lijnders-style football, mixed with a bit of serious, German slant, then you have to come here,” the manager said.

Lijnders’ impact on Liverpool should not be understated, with the 41-year-old playing a key role in the club’s success under Klopp.

LONDON, ENGLAND - Sunday, April 21, 2024: Liverpool's first-team development coach Pepijn Lijnders during the pre-match warm-up before the FA Premier League match between Fulham FC and Liverpool FC at Craven Cottage. Liverpool won 3-1. (Photo by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

That is summed up by Klopp himself describing their approach as “Lijnders-style football,” with his assistant credited for many of their tactical innovations and leading training sessions.

Whether there are already designs on Lijnders returning as manager in the future is questionable, as there will be hopes that Slot establishes himself as the next great leader at Anfield.

But there is no denying the esteem Lijnders is held in at Liverpool, and if he is able to prove himself elsewhere, it would be daft to rule it out.