Champions League to Dutch second tier – ex-Liverpool coach’s career takes a different path


Pepijn Lijnders could very well still have been an integral part of the Liverpool coaching staff that is 90 minutes away from the Champions League final. Instead, he is managing a NEC Nijmegen side that is being whistled and jeered by their own supporters for every backwards pass and buy nfl jerseys cheap error 16 minutes into their penultimate game of the regular season with the scoreline at 0-0. Even though they are bidding for promotion to the Eredivisie

Expectations are sky-high in Lijnders’ first job in management, having left his position as first-team development coach at Liverpool at the start of the year.

“It’s just more responsibility,” he tells ESPN FC in an exclusive interview. “That’s what I wanted. I wanted to feel the pressure that comes with it and to manage a team that plays the same style [as Liverpool], but with a little bit of me.19

“I love it. I really enjoy each day — even the hard moments when you lose and the day after you have to find the right words to motivate the players again to let them see the big picture.

“This club is an emotional club. I always try to be the counter. If everybody around me gets emotional then I try to be calm, so I try to be a different Pep. Normally I was the one giving emotion and all that stuff [at Liverpool] because that’s what the team needed constantly.”

The decision to leave Liverpool was not one taken lightly for Lijnders. The 35-year-old was aware an offer was forthcoming, but had just one day when it landed to decide whether to accept it during a Liverpool season that had the potential to be historic.

By the time Lijnders was confirmed as NEC head coach, where to buy nfl jerseys cheap Liverpool were fourth in the Premier League and a month out from competing in their first Champions League knockout tie for nine years — against Porto, where he previously spent seven years as a coach.

The Dutchman had always wanted to be a manager, though. He felt he was ready to take the plunge long before Jurgen Klopp’s arrival at Liverpool in October 2015.