Lijnders returns to Liverpool after NEC sacking

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With uncertainty surrounding the future of Zeljko Buvac, the Reds have reappointed the Dutchman to Jurgen Klopp's staff as a first-team coach

Pep Lijnders has returned to Liverpool as a first-team coach, following an unsuccessful stint in charge of NEC.

Lijnders began working as a coach at Anfield in 2014 and departed this January for NEC, where he was sacked after failing to guide the side to promotion to the Eredivisie.

And on Tuesday the Reds confirmed that he would rejoin their staff ahead of the 2018-19 season. 

"Liverpool FC can confirm that Pepijn Lijnders has returned to take up a role in the club's first-team coaching setup," a statement released on the club's official website revealed.

"The Dutchman brought a three-and-a-half-season stay at Anfield to an end in January as he took up the managerial reins of NEC in his homeland.

"However, following his departure, Lijnders has agreed to rejoin Jürgen Klopp's backroom staff in a senior capacity."

The Dutchman returns to Liverpool amid uncertainty over Jurgen Klopp's assistant Zeljko Buvac, who was absent in the final stages of the season due to "personal reasons".

There were reports of a falling out between Klopp and Buvac - denied by the former - while the Bosnian was also linked with the Arsenal job, since taken by Unai Emery.

While there has been no official statement on Buvac's future, the club are said to be preparing for life without him as an exit appears likely

Lijnders' return would help fill any void left by Klopp's long-term collaborator, as well as boosting the manager himself who affirmed he was "gutted" to lose the coach in January. 

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"He is a valuable member…and a brilliant person," Klopp had signalled upon Lijnders' departure.

“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.