Has departure of this key man impacted Liverpool more than Klopp lets on?
Sometime towards the end of last season, Zeljko Buvac disappeared from the bench at Liverpool Football Club.
Fans were left concerned and confused, particularly as Buvac’s absence came at a critical period of the season for the Reds, who were heading into a Champions League semi-final at the time.
The man described as ‘the brains’ of Klopp’s managerial career was confirmed to be taking time away from the action shortly after, in a statement issued by the club.
Rumours filled social media, from family issues to a fallout with Klopp, and though nothing is confirmed and he is still listed as a staff member on the club’s official website, it is expected that Buvac will not return to Klopp’s managerial setup.
His exit effectively ends a 17 year working relationship with Klopp, as he partnered him at Mainz and Dortmund prior to the pair’s move to Liverpool.
Since his departure, the Reds have played 21 times, winning 12, drawing three, and losing six. Though a number of those defeats can be easily explained – the 4-2 loss to Roma was enough to progress in the Champions League, 1-0 to Chelsea when preparing for a final, and 3-1 to Real Madrid following Salah’s injury in said final – there have been some embarrassing moments.
Roberto Firmino, the star of Liverpool’s counter-pressing system, hasn’t been the same so far this season. With impressive performances coming from him last season in particularly tactical games – take the wins over Manchester City for example – it’s a valid question if losing ‘the brains’ hasn’t cost Liverpool their attacking edge.