'Unbelievably important' Lijnders leaves Liverpool
Written by Simon Austin — January 2, 2018
LIVERPOOL Development Coach Pepijn Lijnders - described as ‘unbelievably important’ by manager Jurgen Klopp - is leaving immediately to become head coach of NEC Nijmegen in Holland.
Lijnders joined Liverpool in 2014 to take charge of the club’s Under-16s. In the summer of 2015, he was promoted to the newly-created position of Development Coach, responsible for managing the transition from Academy to first team and assisting Klopp with the team's style of play.
In August, Klopp identified Lijnders as one of six staff (along with Zeljko Buvac, Peter Krawietz, Andreas Kornmayer, John Achterberg and Mona Nemmer) who he could not do without.
“I am nothing without them,” he said. “Without them, I didn’t want to do the job – and I couldn’t do the job anymore. That’s how it is.
"Pep [Lijnders] has become unbelievably important in a short time because he writes everything down, he is also part of ‘the brain’ because he is our mind to remember the things what we did in previous sessions.
“He brings us the next coaching generation; we are not old but we are already that long in the business, so it’s normal that you have routines, you use them and they are good.
“We try to stay open all the time, but with Pep he is our connecting point to the present and the future, so that’s really, really important.”
NEC Nijmegen are currently second in Holland’s second tier. Liverpool granted Lijnders permission to talk to them and he will leave with immediate effect.
He told Liverpoolfc.com: “I could write for hours thanking the people at Liverpool who have helped me since I came here and the decision to leave has not been easy.
“In general terms I would like to thank all the amazing players and staff at Melwood and the Academy at Kirkby, who I’ve been privileged to work with. Also, at Anfield – that is such a special place with special people and I never took for granted going to work at one of the greatest stadiums in the world every other week.
“This club is so, so lucky to have someone of Jürgen’s calibre leading its football team – he is world-class, truly world-class and I hope to take many of the great lessons I learned from him, Zeljko Buvac, Peter Krawietz and John Achterberg into my own future leading a side.”
Klopp added: “It’s such a strange mix of emotions talking about Pep leaving us. Firstly, I am gutted to be losing such a valuable member of our coaching team and such a brilliant person from our group.
“But that is tempered by the fact I am very excited for him to have this opportunity and as much as we would have loved for him to remain with us, we cannot stand in his way for what is a fantastic opportunity.
“It is hard to undersell the role Pep played in helping us settle, educating us about football life in England and then contributing ideas to the progress and development of this team.
“He has such a big football brain, but it’s his willingness to learn and absorb information and always look to improve and be better as a coach that makes him stand out.“Of course, one of his biggest legacies at LFC will be the development and integration into the first-team squad of so many young and exciting players.
“The role he played in making us aware of these players and then helping us get the best out of them will have a lasting impact here, beyond him leaving.
“On the personal side, his wonderful family have also become part of our lives and we will miss them so much.
“There will be no greater supporter of NEC Nijmegen in Liverpool than me and I know this is the very start of a long journey for Pep – one where he will undoubtedly become a success.”