Last night, albeit thanks to Duncan Castles, some unsettling rumours regarding Liverpool’s number two, Zeljko Buvac arose. According to Castles’ report, the assistant manager has quit the club after a spat with Jurgen Klopp. The Anfield Talk’s Anthony (@anthonymarkmcav) takes a quick look at the rumours.
UPDATE 11:54 – A report in the Times by Chris Bascombe has come out and stated that Buvac had previously fallen out with Liverpool goalkeeping coach John Achterburg in November following Liverpool’s 1-1 draw with Chelsea at Anfield.
The report states:
“He was furious with the goalkeeper coach, John Achterberg, in a game against Chelsea last November when the Londoners scored an equaliser while Liverpool were trying to bring on the substitute Adam Lallana and switch to a five-man backline. Buvac refused to speak to Achterberg, who liaises with the fourth official over substitutions.”
This could spell the end for John Achterburg come the end of the season if it is indeed the former Tranmere Rovers-keeper that is the issue here. I doubt Klopp values him anywhere near as highly as Buvac.
Andy Renshaw left the club earlier this season, with Klopp becoming increasingly ponderous over changes to his back-room staff, so a slight overhaul in the summer wouldn’t be unheard of.
UPDATE – ZELJKO BUVAC TO TAKE TIME OFF FOR PERSONAL REASONS. It appears that the Liverpool assistant manager will be taking time off for the remainder of the season due to personal reasons. Liverpool Football Club remain adamant that he will remain an employee of the club and that sounds very different to the kind of thing Duncan Castles was spurting last night. He will be absent for the rest of the season however, and should rejoin the team come the start of pre-season.
Check out the rest of what I had to say here:
The Daily Record: “They stand apart in training, Buvac doesn’t go to tactical meetings, and he is no longer involved in picking the team. In the past, he was the only one who had Klopp’s ear. The relationship had broken down, and the players have been told Buvac is gone.”
In 1992, Zeljko Buvac joined Mainz from FC Rot-Weiß Erfurt, and playing alongside Jurgen Klopp, began to forge one of the most formidable footballing friendships that has been seen over the past thirty years. Buvac and Klopp played together then when Jurgen came calling Buvac followed, no matter where he went.
He was assistant manager at Mainz, where the duo pushed for promotion into the Bundesliga (and got it.) Then, when Klopp made his massive move to Borussia Dortmund, Zeljko was also brought on board at Die Borussen.
They won back to back Bundesliga titles, made it to the final of the Champions League, falling to Bayern Munich and a late Arjen Robben goal, and even followed Klopp to Merseyside where he’s played a massive part in this Liverpool team becoming what it is. Champions League semi-finalists.
So my question is why now, after over 20 years of friendship, would Zeljko Buvac decide that now, before the biggest game of Liverpool’s season? The second leg of a Champions League semi-final. Roma away. It’s in two days time and he decides to quit now? I just don’t see it at all. I don’t think it’s feasible, although I have been wrong before.
Buvac has been known as ‘The Brain’ behind Jurgen Klopp’s machine. Losing him would be an awful thing to happen. Klopp has relied on him much more than most managers rely on their assistants over the years and that is a testament to the bond and friendship that they have built up over the past three decades.
Usually Buvac would be involved in tactical meetings and in picking the team for upcoming matches, and that’s where his strengths lie. He is the Bob Paisley to Klopp’s Bill Shankly. The man who silently pulls the strings.
Klopp losing Buvac at this point of the season could be catastrophic to our Champions League campaign and even our Premier League season, with us still not confirming a top four finish. It’s these type of tight situations that Buvac has provided Klopp with the solution to in the past, and if he’s not got that this time around, who knows what’s going to happen.
All in all, losing Zeljko Buvac would be horrific for Liverpool Football Club, and would be horrific for Jurgen Klopp. Nothing confirmed by the club or by a big club journalist as of yet though. Stay tuned to The Anfield Talk and theanfieldtalk.com for updates.