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Pep Ljinders reveals how close he came to succeeding Jurgen Klopp as Liverpool manager as his former assistant takes charge of RB Salzburg

  • Pep Ljinders has revealed how close he came to succeeding Jurgen Klopp
  • Ljinders, on the other hand, followed Klopp out of Anfield and will now manage RB Salzburg
  • Chelsea are ‘baffling’… Mauricio Pochettino has NOT failed: where do the Blues go from here? Listen It’s all starting! Podcast

Pep Ljinders has revealed how Liverpool bosses “really considered” him as a potential replacement for Jurgen Klopp as their manager.

Klopp shocked the football world in January when he announced his decision to leave Liverpool at the end of the season, with former Feyenoord manager Arne Slot taking over.

Ljinders, who worked alongside Klopp for much of his tenure at Anfield as his assistant manager, has now also left the club to manage RB Salzburg.

Now the 41-year-old has revealed that Liverpool were considering naming him Klopp’s successor, but added that the club felt it would be unfair for him to directly follow the German.

As reported by The Athletic, Ljinders claimed Liverpool “really considered him” to replace Klopp.

Pep Ljinders has revealed how close he came to succeeding Jurgen Klopp as Liverpool manager

Pep Ljinders has revealed how close he came to succeeding Jurgen Klopp as Liverpool manager

Ljinders worked alongside Klopp for most of the German's tenure at Anfield.

Ljinders worked alongside Klopp for most of the German’s tenure at Anfield.

Ljinders recalled how FSG president Mike Gordon phoned him in early February and said: “Pep, we really consider you, but I think it’s fair to you that we don’t put you after Jurgen.”

He also reflected on how Klopp had asked him on several occasions if he would become Liverpool manager, but added that he always said no.

Ljinders said: ‘Jurgen has asked me about this several times over the last few years. I got Jurgen’s question last season and twice this season, but each time I said “no.”

‘The first reason was that I really felt like this was an ‘us’ project. Jurgen directed it and I really felt like we should finish this project together. Secondly, I have been at Liverpool for almost ten years.”

Ljinders expressed his belief that it was important for him to face a new challenge in a different environment.

He said: “I was ready for a new experience: new people, my own staff, my own players.” I gave everything I had to this playgroup. I think the team would remain the same if I stayed here.

Liverpool elected to hire Feyenoord manager Arne Slot as Klopp's replacement.

Liverpool elected to hire Feyenoord manager Arne Slot as Klopp’s replacement.

‘I feel like the team also needs something new. But I never knew 100 percent what my response would be if Mike Gordon called me. He says ‘no, no, no’ but then…’

Before Klopp’s arrival in 2015, Ljinders was already working for Liverpool as a development coach.

Ljinders left Liverpool in January 2018 to manage Dutch club NEC but was sacked at the end of the season after they failed to secure promotion to the Eredivisie.

After returning to Liverpool, Ljinders was part of the coaching staff when Klopp’s team won the Champions League in 2019. He also featured when Liverpool won the Premier League title the following year, ending the club’s 30-year wait. club for league glory.

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