James Pearce appeared to suggest that Jurgen Klopp’s No.2, Pep Lijnders, would be a potential name in the hat for the club’s owners when the time comes for the German to part ways with Liverpool.
The former Mainz head coach’s contract is currently set to expire in 2024, with the expectation being that the 54-year-old will take a year’s sabbatical out of the game.
“When the discussions about Klopp’s potential successor happen, I don’t think people should underestimate the respect the owners have for Pep Lijnders who’s Klopp’s assistant at the moment,” the renowned reporter told The Athletic Football Podcast.
“He may not have much experience being a No.1 anywhere but in terms of footballing knowledge and expertise… Klopp essentially gives him 100% responsibility for the coaching programme. Designing it, implementing it.
“He has wide-ranging responsibilities already and the owners are massive fans of his.
“So I think that’s another intriguing aspect to it.”
With Steven Gerrard returning to the Premier League as a manager, speculation has been rife over the next step the Scouser’s likely to take beyond Villa Park with his connection to Merseyside used by several commentators to insinuate that an eventual switch to his old stomping ground wouldn’t be beyond the realm of possibility.
Whilst we at the Empire of the Kop can more than understand the links between our ex-No.8 and Anfield – particularly given the upward trajectory he and his backroom staff are enjoying – there’s no reason why Lijnders’ name shouldn’t carry weight either.
As Pearce has rightly pointed out, the Dutchman is incredibly well-integrated in the club’s day-to-day, and his potential appointment would certainly be in line with the theme of continuity that has recently resurfaced during Klopp’s tenure.
If we are to lean heavily on Michael Edwards’ parting letter to Liverpool fans and his focus on the ‘Liverpool Way’, the coach would certainly represent the most ideal option to pass the torch to.