Former Liverpool coach Pep Lijnders leaves NEC Nijmegen after playoff failure

Lijnders left Jürgen Klopp's backroom staff to join the Dutch club in January

Mark Critchley
Northern Football Correspondent
Thursday 17 May 2018 11:37 BST
Pep Lijnders left Jurgen Klopp's coaching staff in January
Pep Lijnders left Jurgen Klopp's coaching staff in January

Former Liverpool coach Pep Lijnders has parted company with NEC Nijmegen, just five months after being appointed as the Dutch club’s head coach.

Lijnders left Jürgen Klopp’s coaching staff in January to take the reins at NEC, who were relegated from the Eredivisie last season.

The 35-year-old guided NEC to a third-place finish in the second-tier Eerste Divisie this year and qualified for the end-of-season playoffs.

However, a 5-4 aggregate defeat to seventh-place Emmen in the second round of playoffs has led NEC and Lijnders to part ways by mutual consent.

“Pepijn worked with us under very difficult circumstances, which have had repercussions on both the team and on him personally,” said Remco Oversier, NEC’s sporting director.

“We consciously entered into the adventure with each other in the winter, with high expectations from both sides. Unfortunately this did not work out for both of us as we had previously proposed.”

Lijnders became highly regarded at Liverpool following his arrival from Porto in 2014.

The Dutchman initially worked as the under-16s manager during Brendan Rodgers’ time at the club but was later promoted to become Klopp’s first team development coach.

The Liverpool manager admitted he was “gutted” to lose Lijnders when his departure to NEC was confirmed in January.

“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,” Klopp said at the time.

“He has such a big football brain, but it’s his willingness to learn and absorb information and always look to improve and be better as a coach that makes him stand out.”

Klopp is currently without his long-standing and trusted assistant Zeljko Buvac, who is currently on a leave of absence and will not work with the Liverpool first team until at least the end of the season.

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