The Backroom Staff: The Hidden Faces

Behind the success of the Mighty Reds are the backroom staff. The people who don’t get as much attention as the likes of Virgil Van Dijk and Sadio Mane. In this article we will be looking into some of Jurgen Klopp’s staff.

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Pep Lijnders

Pepijn Lijnders is Liverpool’s assistant manager. He began his managerial career in 2002, aged just 19, with Dutch outfit PSV Eindhoven. His role was to help with youth training and individual player development.

After 4 years, he moved to Portuguese giants FC Porto and helped develop their youth academy. He was working under ex-Porto and Barcelona goalkeeper Vitor Baia and current Marseille manager Andre Villas-Boas. He then moved to the Mighty Reds in 2014 and assisted Brendan Rodgers and eventually Jurgen Klopp as assistant coach.

On 2nd January 2018, Lijnders accepted the managerial role in his homeland with Eerste Divise side NEC Nijmegen on a 1-and-a-half-year contract. 5 months into his reign he was sacked after his side failed to gain promotion to the Eredivisie. He returned to Merseyside on June 5th, 2018 and was part of the coaching team who won the 2019 UEFA Champions League in Madrid.

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Lijnders was a crucial link between the youth at Kirkby and the first team at Melwood. He has since became a significant figure in Klopp’s backroom team. The Dutchman oversaw the progress of scouser Trent Alexander-Arnold, who has since became one of the best right backs in the world, and Welshman Ben Woodburn, who has since became Liverpool’s youngest ever goal scorer.

Peter Krawietz

The German followed Klopp to Liverpool in October 2015 to take up the role of Assistant Manager. The two Germans first met at Mainz 05, where Krawietz was chief scout, and since then have worked closely ever since. He never played the beautiful game professionally; however, he was a prominent figure at Borussia Dortmund during a great era under Jurgen Klopp.

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Due to Krawietz’s scouting and analysis expertise, Klopp nicknamed him ‘The Eye’. Since arriving in Merseyside, he has won the international treble in 2019(UEFA Champions League; UEFA Super Cup and FIFA Club World Cup).

John Achterberg

Achterberg is a retired goalkeeper, who played for NAC Breda and FC Eindhoven in his homeland and Tranmere Rovers in England. He is now the first team goalkeeper coach for Liverpool. He made a total of 398 appearances with 88.19% of these coming with our Wirral neighbours Tranmere Rovers.

After retiring in 2009, Achterberg chose to stay in Merseyside joining the Mighty Reds as goalkeeper coach for the reserves before being promoted to the Men’s team after 2 years. Former Aston Villa/Tranmere manager Brian Little described the Dutchman as the most professional player he worked with.

Vitor Matos 

Matos joined the Liverpool coaching staff as elite development coach in October 2019. He joined the Mighty Reds from FC Porto, where he was assistant coach for the Portuguese giant’s ‘B’ team. He previously spent 2 years in China where he was youth technical coordinator and head coach of the U16 team for Shandong Luneng. He filled the vacant position that was left by current assistant manager Pep Lijnders, who also came from FC Porto.

Andreas Kornmayer

Kornmayer joined Liverpool Football Club becoming the new head of fitness and conditioning after serving 15 years at his hometown club Bayern Munich. He worked under Louis Van Gaal;Jupp Heynckes and Pep Guardiola but swapped the Allianz Arena for Anfield.

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His footballing journey began at Munich University where he took a Sports Science course after studying medicine. After he swapped Bavaria for Merseyside he said “Liverpool is a big and great club with a lot of tradition. On my first experience of Liverpool,when I arrived here, I could really feel the history. 

Jack Robinson

Robinson is the first team assistant goalkeeper coach. He’s one of the men that helps train the likes of Alisson,Adrian,Kelleher and Lonergan. He began his role in September 2018 joining from the FA,where he was working with the stoppers from England’s U15-U17 youth teams. Prior to his spell with the Football Association he worked with Manchester United,Crystal Palace and Leeds United. He holds a UEFA A licence in Goalkeeping.

After joining the club he said “It’s great to be at Liverpool,a club with such a real,and rich history of success and winning trophies.” He also added that he would like to see a few more young goalkeepers come through to Melwood. 

Philipp Jacobsen

Jacobsen is the Medical Rehabilitation and Performance Manager. He was appointed prior to the 2018-19 from Qatar’s orthopaedic and sports medicine hospital Aspetar. He was the Head Physiotherapist there from 2007 until 2015. For 2 years after that he worked with the Qatar National Team. He then took on a lead role and headed up a specialist team assigned to the care of foreign athletes visiting Aspetar. His previous jobs in football include with Greek giants Panathinaikos from 2001-2004 and with Portsmouth from 2005.

Tom King

King is a part of the fitness department and has been for nearly 4 years however only took on a full time role in the summer of 2019 after 3 seasons with the club as a PhD student. He initially joined prior to the 2016-17 season, Klopp’s first full season in charge, joining fresh from Liverpool’s John Moore University. He has spent time with Merseyside rivals Everton as an intern. He continues to work as a PhD researcher at LJMU. 

Lee Radcliffe

Radcliffe is a life-long red who is the Kitman for Liverpool FC. He was initially employed as a supervisor to help keep the Melwood training complex ticking over, he then secured a position as reserve team kitman. A year later the Kopite was promoted to the first team however. He said “For Graham [Carter] and myself as long as we have the right boots and kits prepared on matchday then we’re happy. The main thing is to make sure the players have got what they need for a game and that way our job is done. Then after a game, we have to get the kit ready again, folded and put back in the tins ready to travel to the next match.” His previous job was as a prison custody officer at Group4 before joining the Mighty Reds. He also says that he loves working for the club.

Mona Nemmer

Nemmer was appointed as the Head of Nutrition after arriving from Bayern Munich in July 2016. She was in Bavaria for 3 years after she was recruited shortly after Pep Guardiola’s arrival in Germany.

Before she joined the German giants she was a chef and nutritionist for the Germany U21 National team and from 2009 was responsible for all the german youth national sides. While she studied nutrition,she realised that the subject comprised both practical and theoretical components.

She said this about her role “I am not a classic nutritionist, like most people would think. My big thing is to compare the theoretical side – the science – and the practical side.”

Part of her role means 1 on 1 consultations with players and even offering them cooking lessons to ensure that whilst they are away from Melwood they are still nourished. About the club she said “Liverpool have a great manager, history and team. It is a great challenge for me to support a club that has so much tradition, so that made it interesting for me to come to Liverpool.”

Christopher Rohrbeck

Rohrbeck is the first team physiotherapist and joined Liverpool in 2017. He made the move to Merseyside after 14 years with Klopp’s former club Mainz 05, where he previously worked under the German. He forms part of the medical setup at Melwood. He said this after joining the club “Of course the fact it was Liverpool appealed to me with the size and structure of the club, but Jurgen told me I’d be joining a group of players and staff that are a perfect group.”

Mark Leyland

Leyland’s role at Liverpool is the first team post-match analyst. The lifelong red came to Liverpool from Burnley in 2013. His first job in football came with Merseyside rivals Everton after gaining a work placement with the Blues’ academy whilst completing a Masters degree with John Moores University. 

He excelled at Everton quickly becoming Head of Development Analysis at the academy and was there for 4 years before moving to Burnley to work under Eddie Home and then eventually Sean Dyche. He was at Turf Moor for 1 season before being approached by Liverpool.

About his job he said “We cover all aspects of live match and post match analysis. Our job after a game revolves around us breaking down the game into team aspects and individual player aspects relating to the manager’s philosophy.”

Greg Mathieson

The Head of Opposition Analysis was born and raised in East Ayrshire-the home county of Liverpool legend Bill Shankly.

The Scotsman arrived in Merseyside from West Ham in January 2015. His career began his career after he left home to study sports coaching and earned a coaching role at Dundee United. When he was 21 he became part of Allardyce’s backroom staff at Blackburn Rovers. After 3 years he followed Allardyce to West Ham. He explains what his day to day responsibilities entail “Our key aim is to give the coaches a platform to prepare for the next match with the opponent in mind. We present specific information to the manager and coaching staff through documentation and video.”

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