The mystery of Zeljko Buvac’s departure from Liverpool on the eve of Champions League semi-final in 2018 as revealed by Roberto Firmino: Where is Liverpool’s former assistant now?

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Roberto Firmino has revealed that to this day none of the Liverpool players understand long-term assistant Zelkjo Buvac’s exit back in 2018.

Buvac had been Jurgen Klopp’s assistant for the vast majority of his managerial career, accompanying the German from Mainz to Borussia Dortmund and then on to Liverpool. 

While Klopp is thought to have regarded himself as the heart of his teams, Buvac was the brains, with Peter Krawietz the eyes.  

He had continued in his role as assistant up until spring 2018, when out of nowhere he left the club on the eve of a Champions League clash with Roma. 

At the time it was reported as temporary leave, but Buvac would leave the club permanently with little to no explanation given for his shock departure ahead of a crucial clash for the Reds. 

Zeljko Buvac was Jurgen Klopp’s (right) long-term assistant in both Germany and England

Having arrived with the German in 2015 at Anfield, Buvac mysteriously left ahead of a crunch Champions League semi-final clash with Roma in 2018

Having arrived with the German in 2015 at Anfield, Buvac mysteriously left ahead of a crunch Champions League semi-final clash with Roma in 2018

Roberto Firmino has revealed in his new book that none of his Liverpool team-mates were given an explanation as to why Buvac left

Roberto Firmino has revealed in his new book that none of his Liverpool team-mates were given an explanation as to why Buvac left

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Now, though, Firmino has revealed in his new book – Si Senor: My Liverpool Years – that none of the playing squad were given any further detail either.  

‘The boss considered himself the heart of the coaching staff, Pete was the eye and Zeljko was the brain,’ Firmino wrote.

‘Klopp’s right-hand man, Zeljko was the one who actively participated in training, organising everything and leading sessions.

‘His departure in 2018 was a bit strange for all of us; nobody understood what happened.

‘To this day, we don’t know and we haven’t heard from Zeljko.

‘The rumours at the time were that they had clashed over some signing. Honestly, I never asked the boss about it.’

Buvac now is operating in Russia as a sporting director at Dinamo Moscow, having recently signed a contract extension at the Russian Premier League outfit. 

His departure in 2018 paved the way for current assistant Pepijn Lijnders to return to Liverpool after leaving his role in the academy earlier that same year. 

Buvac is currently a sporting director at Russian Premier League side Dinamo Moscow

Buvac is currently a sporting director at Russian Premier League side Dinamo Moscow

Pepijn Lijnders replaced Buvac as Klopp's No 2 and has excelled in his current position

Pepijn Lijnders replaced Buvac as Klopp’s No 2 and has excelled in his current position

Ljinders’ work at Anfield has earned him widespread praise, with Klopp highlighting his abilities and talking up his potential to become a highly-regarded coach in his own right. 

Firmino was also quick to highlight the impact that the Dutchman had on his own game. 

‘Pep is an incredible guy, very intelligent tactically.

‘Having him back proved a big help to me, both because we could converse in my language and because of his game-to-game advice on positioning.’

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