Liverpool Reportedly Dismiss Zeljko Buvac Quit Rumours Amid Leave of Absence

Matt JonesFeatured ColumnistApril 30, 2018

Liverpool's German manager Jurgen Klopp (R) and assistant manager Zeljko Buvac attend a team training session on the eve of the UEFA Champions League first leg quarter-final football match between Liverpool and Manchester City, at Melwood Training Ground in Liverpool, north west England on April 3, 2018. / AFP PHOTO / Paul ELLIS        (Photo credit should read PAUL ELLIS/AFP/Getty Images)
PAUL ELLIS/Getty Images

Liverpool have reportedly dismissed speculation that assistant manager Zeljko Buvac is to leave the club, although it's said he will not be involved with the first team for the remainder of the campaign.

After rumours that Buvac had resigned surfaced on Sunday, Paul Joyce of The Times provided an update on his position:

paul joyce @_pauljoyce

Liverpool assistant manager Zeljko Buvac not working with first team between now and end of the season. Story at @TimesSport

In Joyce's report for the Times he outlined further details around the assistant:

"It is understood Buvac has become increasingly distant and withdrawn around the club, and visibly less engaged during matches recently, and it is that, rather than any specific fall-out with Klopp, which has resulted in his stepping back from first-team duties in the aftermath of the stalemate with Stoke City on Saturday. Liverpool’s players were informed at training on Sunday"

Chris Bascombe of the Daily Telegraph has said that the coach is "on the verge of leaving the club."

Earlier, Alex Richards of the Daily Mirror said Buvac "has tendered his resignation in a move that will come as a major shock."

In addition, Duncan Castles of the Daily Record relayed Buvac has been left unhappy at Anfield and had stopped talking with manager Jurgen Klopp having been left out of tactical briefs.

"Klopp and Buvac had a big falling out," said a source quoted by Castles. "And Buvac has been left completely out of the loop of late. 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."

Journalist Leanne Prescott believes the absence of the coach will be a big blow for the Reds:

Leanne Prescott @_lfcleanne

Buvac rumours couldn’t come at a worse time ahead of a pivotal week for Liverpool. Would be a big loss to the coaching stuff and a strange end to a long lasting relationship with Klopp. Only time will tell if there’s any truth there.

As noted by Richards, Buvac is highly regarded in the game and has been nicknamed as "The Brain" previously. 

His association with Klopp goes back to the pair's playing career together at Mainz in 1992. Per Castles, Buvac is said to have been crucial in the pressing philosophy the Liverpool manager has become renowned for.

Buvac and Klopp have worked together for a long time.
Buvac and Klopp have worked together for a long time.Martin Meissner/Associated Press

Richards said that while Buvac has been in the dugout for recent games against Stoke City and Roma, Klopp turned to first-team coach Peter Krawietz for advice during the match, not his longstanding assistant.

As relayed by football writer Jack Lusby, there was little sign of Buvac at Liverpool training on Monday:

Jack Lusby @jacklusby_

No idea if claims of Zeljko Buvac leaving #LFC are true, but this is from pre-Roma training on Monday. The rest of the staff are there (inc. Krawietz, Kornmayer & Achterberg) but no sign of The Brain. And no that's not Duncan Castles before you ask. 😉 https://t.co/Atueb2ZpOJ

BT Sport presenter Jake Humphrey also commented on the reports and praised the work of the coach:

Jake Humphrey @mrjakehumphrey

Wow. Buvac has left Liverpool according to the papers...bad, and seismic news on the biggest of weeks. The man is a a tactical genius, and has worked with Klopp for almost 20 years... https://t.co/Ui1Eo6uFhG

Liverpool's season is reaching a critical point, as they are on the brink of a Champions League final. On Wednesday, they head to Roma for the second leg of their semi-final tie, having dominated the first meeting of the sides 5-2 on Tuesday.

The Reds also need to secure a spot in the Premier League's top four, with Chelsea finishing the campaign strongly. Liverpool are six points clear of the Blues having played one game more; the two rivals will meet each other on Sunday at Stamford Bridge.  


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