Jurgen Klopp left with mixed emotions as Pep Lijnders leaves Liverpool for NEC Nijmegen job
Posted: 2 January 2018 Time: 13:18
Jurgen Klopp admits he is “gutted” after Pep Lijnders left Liverpool to take over as head coach of Dutch club NEC Nijmegen.
The Dutchman joined the Anfield club in 2014, taking charge of the Under-16 academy before being appointed as first-team development coach in 2015.
However, the 34-year-old has since taken the chance to continue his career as head coach with NEC Nijmegen, who are currently second in the Netherlands' second tier, and Klopp admits it was an opportunity Lijnders could not turn down.
“It’s such a strange mix of emotions talking about Pep leaving us,” Klopp said.
“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.”