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Liverpool ready to offer Pep Lijnders the chance to return to Klopp's coaching staff

11:15 BST 28/05/2018
Pepijn Lijnders NEC 2017-18
The Dutchman was in Kiev to see the Reds beaten by Real Madrid in the Champions League final - and is set to be offered a role

Liverpool are ready to offer Pep Lijnders the chance to return to the club as part of Jurgen Klopp’s coaching team.

The Dutchman left Anfield in January to take up a role as head coach of NEC Nijmegen in his home country.

But he was sacked earlier this month having failed to earn promotion to the Eredivisie, and the highly-rated 35-year-old is now set to be given the opportunity to make a swift return to the Reds.

Lijnders was in Kiev to watch Liverpool’s Champions League final with Real Madrid on Saturday, and was seen in conversation with a number of club officials and staff members. He is understood to be keen on a return.

Zeljko Buvac, meanwhile, is unlikely to return to the club. Klopp's long-term assistant missed the last four games of the season due to “personal reasons” but it appears his 16-year coaching partnership with the German is over, for now at least. Liverpool are already planning for life without him.

Changes are also expected in the club’s medical department, where head physio Andy Renshaw was sacked back in October. Further down, Liverpool are seeking a new Under-18s coach to replace Steven Gerrard, who has been appointed manager of Rangers . Gerrard will take several Academy staff members to Ibrox with him, including the highly thought of Michael Beale.

Lijnders’ return would certainly be welcomed by Liverpool’s players and by Klopp, who is a big fan. Upon his departure in January, the Reds boss spoke of being “gutted” at losing “a valuable member…and a brilliant person”.

“He has such a big football brain,” Klopp said. “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.”

Liverpool will seek to have their new backroom team in place early, with their non-World Cup players expected back at Melwood in the first week of July. The club have a three-game tour of the United States later that month, where they will play against Borussia Dortmund, Manchester City and Manchester United in the International Champions Cup. A further friendly, against Napoli in Dublin’s Aviva Stadium, is also confirmed.

Meanwhile, Liverpool expect a definitive update on the injury suffered by Mohamed Salah in the Champions League final during the next 24 hours. Salah was forced off after just half an hour against Real Madrid after falling awkwardly on his shoulder in a challenge with Sergio Ramos, but said on social media on Sunday that he hoped to be fit for the World Cup with Egypt.

A full diagnosis of the injury is yet to be confirmed, but there is hope that the problem is not as serious as it might have been . Egypt's World Cup campaign gets underway against Uruguay on June 15, but Salah is unlikely to be fit for that. Their second group game, against Russia on June 19, is a more realistic target. Their final match is against Saudi Arabia on June 25.