KLOPP’S LAST GAME SOUVENIR

Pepijn Lijnders wanted for manager job that could still benefit Liverpool

Pepijn Lijnders is set to move into management this summer, and the Liverpool assistant is now the subject of strong interest from an intriguing club.

Lijnders, whose time on Merseyside predates that of Jurgen Klopp, will depart along with the manager at the end of the season.

That comes with a view to stepping into management, with his only previous experience being a brief spell in charge of NEC Nijmegen before returning to the role of assistant manager at Liverpool.

  • Lijnders wanted as next head coach of Red Bull Salzburg
  • Dutchman would bring Liverpool coach Vitor Matos as his assistant
  • Ties with Red Bull could aid Liverpool after return of Michael Edwards
  • Expect loan interest in the Reds’ best young players

His next step could benefit the Reds, too, with the Times‘ Paul Joyce reporting that Red Bull Salzburg are interested in making Lijnders their new head coach.

Salzburg, who are two points off Sturm Graz at the top of the Austrian Bundesliga with one game to play, sacked Gerhard Struber last month, with sister club FC Liefering’s Onur Cinel stepping up on an interim basis.

Ajax and Besiktas have previously been credited with an interest in Lijnders, but overtures from Austria are described as “strongest.”

DONESCHINGEN, GERMANY - Tuesday, July 18, 2023: Liverpool's first-team development coach Pepijn Lijnders (L) and elite development coach Vitor Matos walk to a training session during a pre-season training camp in Germany. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

For Lijnders’ part, Joyce reports that he “sees the opportunity as the perfect step in his career,” which suggests that a move could develop quickly.

Whichever job he takes, he will be supported by Vitor Matos, who will vacate his post as Liverpool’s elite development coach this summer.

That connection could aid Liverpool, not least as the relationship with the Red Bull group is already strong.

Salzburg have already conducted business with the Reds over Takumi Minamino, with Michael Edwards able to discover a bargain release clause in the forward’s contract.

Michael Edwards’ Red Bull connections

Liverpool are hopeful of securing a bargain deal for Red Bull Salzburg’s Takumi Minamino (John Walton/PA)

Liverpool have also signed Dominik Szoboszlai, Ibrahima Konate and Naby Keita from RB Leipzig in recent years, while Fabio Carvalho spent an admittedly poor loan spell there this season.

Edwards has struck up friendships within Salzburg and Leipzig, which included consultation on the former’s training ground before the redevelopment of the AXA Training Centre.

And with the 44-year-old returning in the position of CEO of football for Fenway Sports Group, it is a no-brainer that Salzburg, with Lijnders and Matos in tow, could provide a useful avenue.

ST HELENS, ENGLAND - Wednesday, October 2, 2019: Liverpool's Director of Football Michael Edwards during the UEFA Youth League Group E match between Liverpool FC Under-19's and FC Salzburg Under-19's at Langtree Park. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

That could largely come in terms of loans to the Austrian side, particularly as the coaching duo are not only familiar with, but are fierce advocates of the young talent at Liverpool.

But it may also work the other way, as though no cut-price deals would be offered, it is undeniable that productive relationships at boardroom level can smooth over transfer talks.

Salzburg are already guaranteed a place in the Champions League qualifying round for next season, but finishing top would see them into the competition proper.