England – Liverpool – Liverpool: Pepijn Lijnders, the man behind Jurgen Klopp


Soccer Soccer - Premier League - Liverpool v Tottenham Hotspur - Anfield, Liverpool, Britain - October 27, 2019 Liverpool assistant manager Pepijn Lijnders before the match REUTERS / Phil Noble EDITORIAL USE ONLY. No use with unauthorized audio, video, data, fixture lists, club / league logos gold

England – Liverpool

Important man in the staff of Jurgen Klopp, Pepijn Lijnders has an atypical career. From youth manager, he became the assistant to Jurgen Klopp. His goal: to become a successful coach.

His visit to Portugal confirms his interest in the individual progression of young people focusing particularly on the mental aspect. For that, he needs to be close to the players: "I need this setting up, this relationship with the people around me, we need to know where we want to go"he told Liverpool Echo. Lijnders is constantly trying to develop the intelligence of players, and its ability to evolve quickly does not leave indifferent some European clubs, including Liverpool.

Liverpool, the final destination?

It was in the summer of 2014 that he packed up for North West England to become deputy to Brendan Rodgers. He will keep his position when Jurgen Klopp arrives in October 2015, then welcoming this "Fantastic opportunity". He takes a more important position, but he always keeps a close eye on the development of some young talents, including Trent Alexander-Arnold. The latter makes a promising start, and the Dutch is for a lot in its progression. Lijnders carefully studies the way the opponent plays, a joke for Klopp, who appreciates the work of his friend: "It is our point of connection between the present and the future"he said at a press conference. In three years, he will help the club to progress in different areas of play. Jurgen Klopp and Pepijn Lijnders form a valuable duo in the evolution of the English club.

On 2 January 2018, however, he tries his luck at the head of NEC Nijmegen, in the Dutch second division. He signed a one and a half year contract, partly to get closer to his sick father. His departure is a huge disappointment for Jurgen Klopp: "I'm disgusted with losing such a valuable member of our team." But his stay in the Netherlands is short-lived, the fault of a failure in play-offs accession to Eredivisie. He was sacked on May 17, 2018. Klopp took the opportunity to offer him to resume his position in the English club. On his return, the German coach gives him more responsibilities, equivalent to those of Peter Krawietz. In this way, he manages the planning of each session, including video analysis and tactical training.

This gigantic work is rewarded with one of the best seasons in the history of the Reds. In 2018-19, the English club finished second in the Premier League with 97 points and one loss, just behind Manchester City (98 points). And near a final lost without Lijnders the previous year (3-1 against Real Madrid), Liverpool won the Champions League on 1 June 2019 against Tottenham. The first major trophy for the Dutch technician, no stranger to the success of the Reds today. While Jurgen Klopp's praise regularly returns, the fans do not forget Lijnders, and imagine him a worthy successor if the German leaves. At 36, Pepijn Lijnders thrives in Liverpool, just waiting for his time.

Quentin Granet

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