Jurgen Klopp 'gutted' as top assistant coach leaves Liverpool
Jurgen Klopp has said he is 'gutted' to lose assistant coach Pep Lijnders, who is leaving Liverpool to become manager of Dutch side NEC Nijmegen.
Lijnders was a key man behind the scenes at Anfield, first joining the club in 2014 to take charge of the U16 team. He soon progressed to become first team development coach, and has been a key voice in Klopp's set-up since the German joined in October 2015.
The Dutch coach will return to his native country to become manager of NEC Nijmegen, who are currently second in the Netherlands second division, with Klopp paying tribute to his assistant coach - and admitting that his departure is a tough blow for Liverpool.
"It’s such a strange mix of emotions talking about Pep leaving us," Klopp told the Liverpool club website.
"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."