Jurgen Klopp has admitted assistant Pep Lijnders has played a significant role in Liverpool’s progress and admits: “I can’t imagine life without him.”
Lijnders moved to Anfield in 2014, joining the Academy as a coach having enjoyed seven productive years at FC Porto.
But having initially worked with the club’s youngsters, Lijnders has become an integral member of Klopp’s coaching staff and he has become a trusted aide alongside the German’s former Borussia Dortmund colleagues.
The 34-year-old Lijnders has recently spent time in Wales to complete his UEFA Pro Licence course and Klopp admits he has become a valued member of his staff.
“His main job is being a real coach,” Klopp told Liverpoolfc.com.
“I’m really happy. I never could’ve imagined that I needed another assistant, but now we have him and I cannot imagine how it would be without him.
“He is doing a fantastic job and he brings all the things in that we are not that good in, if you want.
“We are kind of old-school managers or coaches, because we’ve been [around] a long time and all these young boys are coming up and bringing new things and interests in. We use, on the other side, our experience – what is good, [we’re] calmer in decision-making, all that stuff.
“I love his mood, I love his attitude, I love already how smart he is, but still really open to learning.
“So for us, it’s perfect, especially then with his fluent English, he’s a big help for Zeljko [Buvac] especially in the sessions. They have a fantastic relationship, actually.
“I’m really happy that the club decided before I came in that he has to stay. I had no idea who he is, where he’s coming from, but it’s an interesting life already that he had, with being that long at Porto and all that stuff. Fantastic guy and an even better manager in the future.”
Klopp believes Lijnders will one day be cut out for a role as a manager, but the Reds boss insists the timing is not yet right.
“Yes, 100 per cent. No doubt, no doubt,” he added.
“But what I really like is that he’s smart enough to think ‘OK, it’s not the time for it’, even when there are younger managers around the world.
“It’s a long way to go and he can still get a lot of information from us and I like how he takes it.
“I think in different parts he has good teachers with us, and we like doing it actually.
“He’s much younger than we are so at one moment we will stop and he’ll be ready to stand with his own feet, and I’m really looking forward to it already, watching the games when he’s on the sideline and can give all his power – and there’s a lot of power – to his team.”