Pep Lijnders' farewell interview: 'I feel grateful and blessed - I love this club'

NewsPep Lijnders' farewell interview: 'I feel grateful and blessed - I love this club'

By Chris Shaw


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“I feel very grateful, blessed,” said Pepijn Lijnders as he reflected on reaching the end of his 10 years with Liverpool FC.

The Reds assistant manager is among the coaching staff who, alongside Jürgen Klopp, will bid farewell to the club after Sunday’s Anfield meeting with Wolverhampton Wanderers.

For Lijnders, it marks the conclusion of a decade on Merseyside, the Dutchman progressing from an initial role at the Academy to a key figure as Klopp’s Liverpool lifted a host of major honours.

Ahead of the season finale, Lijnders – who will become head coach of Red Bull Salzburg next term – sat down with for a last interview…

In full: Jürgen Klopp's final programme notes as Liverpool manager

MatchIn full: Jürgen Klopp's final programme notes as Liverpool managerRead Jürgen Klopp's programme notes for his last game as Liverpool manager in full.

Pep, this is it, 10 years at Liverpool coming to an end. How do you feel?

It’s overwhelming how everybody is reacting and the messages from the fans, saying goodbye to people here in the club. It’s 10 years of my life. I feel very grateful, blessed. It’s a club I love. I didn’t want anything to go different from how it went; losing a final and the year after winning a final. We created so many special games together. The feeling is strange. It’s the last day here at AXA, we go tomorrow to Anfield. The last three weeks is the first time I felt calmness, no pressure. We came third, there’s no final anymore to play, [so] I just soak it in. I look forward to it [Sunday].

Can you even begin to describe what these last 10 years mean to you?

It’s difficult because you’ve been part of something so big; I think only after years we’ll realise what we’ve done. We won the lot. We created a style that people said, ‘OK, that’s Liverpool Football Club’. We made people proud of the city, of us, of the team. So many players over these years represented us in an unbelievable way, the character. The James Milners, the Hendersons, the Adam Lallanas, the Ginis, the front three probably the world will speak about – Bobby, Sadio, Mo. The new talents coming. A right full-back, Trent Alexander-Arnold, who gave a completely new dimension to the football world of being a right full-back. Talent from your own Academy; Curtis, Harvey, Caoimh, Conor, Jarell. Unbelievable signings from the scouting department.

Above everything, I think the biggest prize we won is what we give to our fans – and that’s joy, emotion, passion. The most difficult moments these last years, we showed we never give up. That’s a big lesson for life I think. We did what we did because we had a great leader. Unbelievable players, really unbelievable players, they cannot get enough credit. A city that was just boiling to explode.

Tell us about that great leader – what does Jürgen Klopp mean to you?

Yeah, forever grateful. Where would I be without him, no? He took me back in the role. Our friendship is big, our commitment is even bigger. Our loyalty is massive. Together strong. The only promise is he will be there anyway in the next years. He means the world.

For you personally, is there one moment you’re most proud of?

Nobody will believe it but it’s the training. When it’s windy, when it’s rainy, these boys how they train, I’m the happiest person when the training session finishes and they reached a certain concentration level, you cannot imagine. When they play like it’s a Champions League final in training, I really believe that there is where we won everything. Training was our best transfer, it was where we built something. I really believe in that process. Of course, we brought top players in – I’m not saying different, don’t get me wrong – I just mean how important training is to create a team who think in the same way, who believe in the same kind of football, who learn game by game and become stronger in togetherness. Because one thing is for sure: probably some teams won more prizes but nobody beat us in team spirit over the years.

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An exciting new chapter is starting for you. How much are you looking forward to that at Salzburg?

Really proud, really pleased. It’s a beautiful city, it’s class. The club is young, it’s ambitious, it’s confident – they want to do it their own way. Passionate about what they are doing and how they want to build. Clear identity. PSV Eindhoven, Porto, Liverpool Football Club, Salzburg. I’m just really proud. It’s a nice step, a good step. I will try with all, together with Vitor [Matos] of course and together with all the people there, to build something, to create some memories there together with the fans. I can’t wait to start; first a little bit of holiday and then we go with all we have.

Just finally, Liverpool fans have shown you a lot of love in the last few days. What would you like to say to them?

This club is big because of you guys. If I close my eyes and I think about football, I see Cruyff with the Barcelona team, but if I close my eyes and I think about Liverpool FC, I see us winning trophies and a stand erupting. The flags, that’s what I see. You guys are Liverpool Football Club and you supported us in hard moments. You knew we were building something special. These guys, what they did the last days is just really good for me personally, to leave like this. I think we’ve made the right decision as well.



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This article has been automatically translated and, while all reasonable efforts have been made to ensure accuracy, some errors in translation are possible. Please refer to the original English-language version of the article for the official version.