Lijnders could start managerial reign by thwarting Liverpool’s hopes of signing 21y/o – report

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Pep Lijnders is the new manager of Red Bull Salzburg, and it’s been suggested that one of his first moves might be to foil his former club’s summer transfer plans.

The Austrian giants confirmed the appointment of the 41-year-old on Wednesday afternoon, and one of the players that Jurgen Klopp’s long-time assistant will inherit is Luka Sucic, the Croatian midfielder with whom Liverpool were linked last year.

According to the Daily Express, the 21-year-old ‘could become a target’ for the Reds again this summer, especially if the incoming Arne Slot wants to bolster his midfield options, but it’s claimed that Lijnders would want to work with the youngster and ‘might turn down any approach’ from Anfield regarding the player.

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The industrious Sucic has nine goal contributions in 31 games for Salzburg this season and was a standout player for them in the Champions League.

He ranked among the top 6% of positional peers in the tournament for clearances, blocks and progressive passes per 90 minutes, also featuring in the 88th percentile for interceptions per match (FBref), so it’s duly quite easy to see why Lijnders would want to keep the young Croatian at the Red Bull Arena.

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The Austrian club has been a stepping stone in the careers of many prominent footballers across Europe, including current Liverpool star Dominik Szoboszlai, former Reds trio Sadio Mane, Naby Keita and Takumi Minamino, and of course a certain Erling Haaland.

Sucic looks set to be part of the next group of future marquee names to go from Salzburg to bigger things, but if LFC are still interested in the youngster and have designs on making a move for him this summer, they could be set for quite the back-and-forth with their departing assistant manager.

READ MORE: The evolution of Liverpool’s starting XI under Jurgen Klopp

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