Pep Lijnders lands new managerial job ahead of emotional Liverpool exit

Pep Ljinders has been named the new manager of Red Bull Salzburg
Pep Ljinders has been named the new manager of Red Bull Salzburg -Credit:James Gill - Danehouse/Getty Images

Austrian club Red Bull Salzburg has named Pep Lijnders as its new manager. The long-term Liverpool assistant will leave the club along with Jürgen Klopp after the final game of the Premier League season and has now secured a return to management.

Lijnders, who first joined Liverpool under Brendan Rodgers in 2017 after spending eight years at Porto, had a brief spell in management with Dutch side NEC Nijmegen in the second tier in 2018. However, he was sacked after just over four months after failing to get the team promoted.

He soon returned to Liverpool under Klopp where he played a key role in the club's huge success. However, he will now test himself as a manager again in the Austrian Bundesliga.

Vitor Matos, who has been elite development coach at Liverpool, joins Lijinders as his new assistant coach. "I am very proud to become the new head coach of FC Red Bull Salzburg," said Lijnders.

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"This is a real privilege for me. After PSV Eindhoven, FC Porto and Liverpool FC, 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.

"Together with my assistant coach Vitor Matos and the entire support team, we will do our best to help the club continue to grow in an ever-changing football world.

"My family has visited the city before and was overwhelmed by its beauty and the friendliness of the people. That was the last and important step for me in choosing FC Red Bull Salzburg."

Lijnders departs Liverpool having won seven trophies during his hugely successful stint alongside Klopp. He reflected on his exit in an emotional press conference back in March.

"It’s not easy, leaving such a club," he said. "But in life I feel always you have to do the right thing and the right thing means that in the summer we said we continue and we go with all we have, we make it ‘the Last Dance’, we make it like a proper ending.

"Not knowing that it would be that season but knowing that the project is coming to an end. I felt that with the back-up of the ownership, signing the right players, we are just going back to basics.

“No negativity: I said it as a joke in pre-season that everybody who is or shows one sign of negativity, I will punch them in the head! Just to make sure that we go and draw a line, we go with a clean sheet.

"That’s always good, that you see it as just one season to go and with the new energy boys, with a few main ones leaving. But that created [a situation] that other boys had to step up.

"We were in the right frame to attack the season and then with time we do well, and it’s really nice that we can make this decision early so we leave the club with a squad who is full of hunger, full of talent, a lot of leadership as well, who can, for the next years, be really successful.

"I owe this club everything. They don’t owe me anything, to be honest. It’s 10 years full of dedication. I always said I will finish with Jurgen; the moment I will not assist anyone else, that’s the moment I will go and I will manage.

"That was always the case. So when we spoke, it was clear for me. Okay, then I go and manage, and we end this project together [that] we started. But yeah, it’s not easy.

"My boys, my wife; my boys are two proper Scousers and their whole life they will be. Maybe posh ones! But still! I cannot say thank you enough to everybody involved. I’m grateful. Mike [Gordon] and myself had a good talk later, I’m really grateful for that and that makes me [feel] as well that I can leave the club consciously."