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Klopp is irreplaceable, says Liverpool assistant manager Lijnders

Liverpool assistant manager Pep Lijnders says it is impossible to replace Jurgen Klopp and that the club must find someone who can develop their own dynasty.

Klopp’s shock decision to step down at the end of the season means owners Fenway Sports Group must find a successor for a manager who has won every club honour, bar the Europa League, during his time at Anfield.

The German has the chance to add to his tally in Sunday’s League Cup final against Chelsea — one of four trophies the club could win this season.

But Lijnders, who with the rest of Klopp’s backroom staff is also leaving, said there was no point in trying to find someone who would be a clone of the 56-year-old, with former Liverpool midfielder and current Bayer Leverkusen boss Xabi Alonso the leading candidate.

“No one can replace Jurgen Klopp. But I think the past showed already a few difficult transitions,” the Dutchman said on Friday at the club’s pre-match press conference.

“What was the most difficult transition inside this club was (Bill) Shankly saying ‘That’s me’. (Bob) Paisley stepped up (in 1974) and was completely different from Shanks.

“It shows, as a club, we have to search for someone who wants to grow, who has the mindset to develop.”

There was a concern that Klopp’s announcement in January could derail a team that leads the Premier League, faces Southampton in the FA Cup next week and is favourite for the Europa League, having been drawn against Sparta Prague in the last 16.

However, they have five wins in six games since then and Lijnders said that was down to the mentality within the dressing room.

“A lot of these boys didn’t win anything with Liverpool yet so of course they give everything despite the manager saying he is leaving,” he added.

“We are stable enough to deal with it. That’s what I thought before — but you never know. It is in the back of your mind but I, we, trust the squad enough that they can deal with that.

“We never make it more complicated than it is and I like that. It is the next game, that’s our final — and it is a final so let’s give everything on this planet to win this one and give joy and emotion to the fans.”

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