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Pep Lijnders was on the shortlist to become the new Liverpool manager



Pep Lijnders, who had a significant role alongside Jurgen Klopp during much of his tenure at Liverpool, has disclosed how close he was to succeeding the German manager.

Lijnders, now managing RB Salzburg, reflected on this period after Klopp’s unexpected decision to leave Liverpool at the end of the season.

Klopp’s announcement in January shocked the football world, leading to widespread speculation about his successor. Ultimately, the Reds appointed former Feyenoord manager Arne Slot as their new boss. However, Lijnders revealed that he was seriously considered for the role before the club made their decision.


Lijnders’ journey with Liverpool began before Klopp’s arrival in 2015, when he was already part of the coaching setup as a development coach. His relationship with Klopp developed over the years, with the Dutchman becoming a key figure in the backroom staff.

During his time at Liverpool, Lijnders was integral to the team’s successes, including their Champions League victory in 2019 and their long-awaited Premier League triumph in 2020.

Jurgen Klopp pictured paying tribute to Liverpool supporters following his side’s 2-2 draw with West Ham on April 27, 2024.

Pep Lijnders was in contention to become the new Liverpool manager

According to The Athletic, Lijnders shared that he was genuinely considered by Liverpool’s hierarchy to take over from Klopp. The 41-year-old recalled a conversation with FSG president Mike Gordon, who told him in early February: “Pep, we really considered you, but I think it’s fair for you that we don’t put you after Jurgen.”

This sentiment was based on the idea that following Klopp’s successful era would be an enormous challenge for any manager, particularly for someone so closely associated with him.

Klopp himself had approached Ljinders on several occasions about the prospect of becoming Liverpool’s next manager. “Jurgen asked me about it a few times in recent years,” Lijnders said. “The season before I got the question from Jurgen and two times this season, but each time I said ‘no’.”

Lijnders’ departure from the Reds coincided with Klopp’s announcement, marking the end of an era at Anfield. Moving on to manage RB Salzburg, the Dutchman is embarking on a new chapter in his coaching career. His close brush with becoming Liverpool’s manager underscores his reputation within the club and the high regard in which he is held by its leadership.


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