Liverpool assistant Zeljko Buvac stands down for rest of season

Liverpool assistant Zeljko Buvac stands down for rest of season

Liverpool has been dealt another big blow ahead of their Champions League second leg match against Roma as assistant manager, Zeljko Buvac announced he will be taking a break from his role.

It remains to be seen whether Buvac returns after Liverpool revealed he would "spending some time away from the first team environment" - but the fact this absence comes at such a crucial time in the club's season, with a top four place in the Premier League and the Champions League so high on the agenda, makes this open to question.

Liverpool legend Steve Nicol has accused Jurgen Klopp of displaying childish behaviour by refusing to shake the linesman's hand following the Reds' 0-0 draw against Stoke City. There will be no official comment from the club due to the private nature of the issue, but the news at the very least raises doubts as to his long-term future at Anfield.

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The pair helped the club win the Bundesliga title in 2011 and 2012 before he again joined up with Klopp, who was appointed as Liverpool manager in October 2015, at Anfield.

Buvac is said to have complemented Klopp's more impulsive urges with a more cerebral approach, a tactician and training-ground technician who worked on attacking positional drills with players. "But the best one was appointing Buvac as coach - he's the best coach I've ever known. We're like an old married couple, and that's sensational". Klopp's side must defend a 5-2 first leg lead in Rome in order to do so.

Liverpool supporters will have received yesterday's news with a feeling of unease given parallels from their recent past, and the fact that Buvac is not the first to leave Klopp's backroom staff this season following Pepjin Linders' decision to become head coach of NEC Nijmegen in January.

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