'They asked me back' - Pep Lijnders makes 'crazy' Liverpool admission after Jurgen Klopp decision

Pep Lijnders of Liverpool during the warm-up before facing Atalanta in the Europa League.
Liverpool assistant coach Pep Lijnders. -Credit:Photo by Jonathan Moscrop/Getty Images

Liverpool assistant manager Pep Lijnders admitted that he has felt 'freedom' for the first time in the last two weeks as he closes in on the end of his Reds career.

The Dutchman, who will leave the club at the end of the season to become the RB Salzburg manager, is among the backroom departures following Jurgen Klopp. Vitor Matos, Elite Development Coach, will also step away from Merseyside to join Lijnders in Austria while Peter Krawietz and goalkeeper coaches John Achterberg and Jack Robinson will depart.

Jurgen Klopp announced in January that he will step down as manager after nine years and the visit of Wolves on Sunday marks the last match of the German's tenure at Anfield.

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"Do you know what's crazy?" says Lijnders speaking to Algemeen Dagblad. "In the last two weeks, I have felt freedom for the first time. The pressure is gone. There is nothing left to gain or improve.

"We finished third in the competition this season and will no longer play the final. You live purely 'in the moment'. At home against Spurs I already noticed what that does.

"You take it all in even better, the singing of the fans, a swirling Anfield. Honestly? I'm actually disappointed that I didn't enjoy it more all this time."

Lijnders continued: "Jürgen always talks about 'making lifelong memories together'. That's the best thing you can do. And that certainly worked. We played special matches and for the fans, Liverpool has again become a club that you associate with finals and prizes.

"My sons are 10 and eight, who grew up with three Champions League finals from Liverpool alone. And with the first English national title in 30 years. There was also a whole period without finals and success.”

"At that barbecue on Thursday, I also said something to the players. I praised their character. We lost a Champions League final in 2018 in Kyiv and used that to win the final against Spurs a year later in Madrid.

"We lost the Premier League by one point to Manchester City in 2019 and won the league by 18 points the following year. Fight back and bounce back by sticking to your playing principles and your beliefs. That is also the legacy of the Klopp era."

The 41-year-old joined Liverpool before Klopp as he was apart of the academy transformation during Brendan Rodgers' time at the club. He left for his first taste of first-team management in 2018, returning to Holland in the NEC Nijmegen hotseat, before leaving after three months.

After his spell back in his native Holland, Lijnders returned to the Reds as Klopp's assistant and he claimed had the offer been different, he would've turned it down.

He added: "At Liverpool, they asked me back after the NEC, but I would never have done it if I had only been asked back as 'number two' in the staff.

"Over the past six years I have been given a lot of responsibility. Jürgen has let me do press conferences, match talks. Everything he does himself. “We do this job together,” he always says. And that's how it really is. I know I am well prepared (for Salzburg)."