Pep Lijnders could give Liverpool transfer boost on way to eventually returning as manager

(Photo by John Powell/Liverpool FC via Getty Images)

Liverpool assistant Pep Lijnders has secured his return to management ahead of his Anfield exit. The 41-year-old will follow Jürgen Klopp out of the club this summer after two spells as No.2 but could help the Reds in his new role.

Lijnders, who previously had a brief taste of management at NEC in the Netherlands, has been confirmed as the new head coach of Red Bull Salzburg. He is set to be assisted by current Liverpool coach Vitor Matos, who is also leaving this summer.

He said: "This is a real privilege for me. I am now moving to another exceptional club with a really good structure and a particular focus on youth development. I want to develop a mentality with the team that places a lot of emphasis on attacking style of play and where passion and hunger for success are the basis of everything."

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Salzburg could yet end the season with the Austrian Bundesliga title but needs leaders Sturm Graz to slip up on the final day. Yet the Reds assistant will already be looking at where he can improve next season.

The Austrian side has had some very talented players in the past — including the likes of Erling Haaland and ex-Liverpool players Sadio Mané and Naby Keïta — who were signed and then sold for significant profits.

Dominik Szoboszlai also joined RB Leipzig before his move to Anfield last summer, while Liverpool has done direct business with Salzburg too, bringing in Takumi Minamino in 2020.

Should Salzburg continue to progress under Lijnders' stewardship, you would fancy the Reds would be well-placed to capitalize in the transfer market due to its relationship with the Dutchman. Among those catching the eye at Salzburg, Ivorian striker Karim Konaté is the top scorer in the Austrian Bundesliga, while playmaker Oscar Gloukh is already attracting interest from leading clubs across Europe.

Yet this appointment could well be the next step in plans for Lijnders to make an eventual return to Anfield. He had long been tipped to replace Klopp but while that won't happen, there are suggestions that he could one day be back.

Arne Slot's first boss Henk de Jong believes as much, having been invited to Liverpool's base earlier this month. He told the Daily Mirror: "Everyone at Liverpool is hoping that Arne is going to do really well.

"Pep is not staying, but I sensed everyone at Liverpool is hoping he will come back to the club one day. They all spoke very highly about him and I really think he has built a big reputation for himself."