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Pep Lijnders recalls Arne Slot meeting with “1,000 questions” and “close contact”

Liverpool’s departing assistant manager, Pep Lijnders, has recalled how Arne Slot “came to his house in Holland about nine years ago” and asked “a thousand questions.”

Unlike when Alex Ferguson was replaced by David Moyes at Man United, Jurgen Klopp hasn’t had a say in the identity of Liverpool’s next manager.

Klopp doesn’t know Slot personally, though they have had a call since the Dutchman took over. However, Lijnders is much closer to his compatriot.

The new Red Bull Salzburg manager revealed to Athletic that he “knows Arne really well.”

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Wednesday, March 13, 2024: Liverpool's manager Jürgen Klopp (L) and first-team development coach Pepijn Lijnders during a training session at the AXA Training Centre ahead of the UEFA Europa League Round of 16 2nd Leg match between Liverpool FC and AC Sparta Praha. (Photo by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

The pair first met when Slot was among the backroom staff at Cambuur.

Speaking to journalist James Pearce, Lijnders said: “He came to my house in Holland about nine years ago.

“He came to speak to me about football. He drove for a long time to see me and he had a thousand questions. I tried to answer them all!

“Since then, we’ve stayed in close contact. He’s an unbelievable coach, who knows exactly what he wants and has the experience to be at a club like Liverpool.”

With Slot at the helm, the now ex-Liverpool coach is optimistic for the Reds’ future. Liverpool’s squad is full of young talent and Lijnders thinks Slot will ‘slot’ straight in.

“There are similarities between Feyenoord and Liverpool. Their fans are so passionate. They also sing You’ll Never Walk Alone,” added Klopp’s right-hand man.

“You need a coach like Arne who is close to what we tried to do over the years, in terms of having the ball in the opposition half, pressing, counter-pressing — he’s very strategical in that point of view.

“He’s made good steps and now it’s the chance for him to make another big step.

“When I spoke with Mike (Gordon) and Jurgen, I said you need a young coach who can grow with this new team. Arne has everything in him to be a success here.”

Replacing Lijnders as assistant should be Sipke Hulshoff. He has already stepped down as Ronald Koeman’s Netherlands assistant and is expected to leave Feyenoord too.

He hasn’t yet been officially announced as a Liverpool employee, though.