Belfast Telegraph

Klopp welcomes back Lijnders after NEC Nijmegen stint

The coach left in January to take charge of second-tier Dutch side.

Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp has welcomed the return of coach Pep Lijnders after his unsuccessful spell as manager in his own right.

The Dutchman left in January to take charge of second-tier side NEC Nijmegen in his homeland but parted company with the club in May after failing in the Eredivisie promotion play-off.

He was immediately offered his Reds job back and was present for the start of pre-season training this week with Lijnders’ return bolstering a backroom team which is still without Klopp’s assistant Zeljko Buvac, who has been absent for what the club say are personal reasons since April.

“It’s good. It’s very, very good. We sent him away for half a year to get very important experience and to have him back now feels just fantastic,” Klopp told liverpoolfc.com.

“When he came in the building, everybody was really delighted about that and was really happy about it.

“He’s a fantastic person and a fantastic coach, so it’s really important that we have him back and I’m really looking forward to working together with him.”

Liverpool’s run to the Champions League final has now been consigned to history but Klopp is keen to build on the progress which was made last season.

He has already started that with combined £96million addition of Naby Keita and Fabinho, with both midfielders in from the start of pre-season – something the Reds boss always puts great store by for new signings.

“We are always ambitious, we are still ambitious,” added Klopp.

“We did a few nice things in the last couple of years, but we know as well that we can still improve so we want to build on the things we’ve achieved so far.

“We know all the good things, we know all the not so good things. Life is always (about) learning from your experiences, I hope we can show that.”

Another player happy to be back in training in early July is left-back Andrew Robertson.

The Scotland international joined from Hull on July 21 last summer so missed three crucial weeks, including four friendlies, two as part of the club’s mini-tour to the Far East.

That impacted on him securing a regular first-team place, which did not happen until Alberto Moreno’s injury in December.

“I came in a bit late and missed the trip to Hong Kong, which I was a bit gutted about,” he said.

“I think I did the first three weeks with Hull so it was a lot different – it’s always good to get a full pre-season with the team you’re going to be with.

“I knew I was leaving Hull last season so it was a tough one but this season I’m settled and I can really focus on pre-season.

“Over the close season I’ve been working on getting fit and now I want to get fitter until August and it’s all leading up to that West Ham game now.”

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