Liverpool’s assistant coach takes ‘leave of absence’ stating personal reasons as the man in charge losses his most trusted man.
Liverpool have denied reports of a row between the pair, but it is undeniable that the Anfield manager’s preparations will have been hit ahead of the tie, where they must avoid a three-goal defeat to be certain of a place in next month’s Final.
Buvac has been Klopp’s trusted right-hand man for the last 17 years and the Liverpool boss refers to him as “the brain” of his backroom staff. The club announced this morning that the Bosnian was taking time out for the rest of the season for personal reasons.
The pair played together at Mainz in the early 1990s and were reunited when Klopp made him his assistant on becoming manager in 2001. Having led Mainz to promotion, the pair moved in 2008 to Borussia Dortmund, where they won back-to-back Bundesliga titles and reached a Champions League Final before arriving at Anfield in 2015.
Liverpool insisted the 56-year-old remains their employee and have stressed that his status has not been affected.
Klopp will still be confident his team will progress to the Final in Kiev, given the way they dominated large parts of the first leg at Anfield, which they won 5-2.
But Roma may see this as a potential chink in the visitors’ armour as they seek to repeat the 3-0 win over Barcelona in the quarter-finals that carried them into the last four.
Meanwhile, Klopp has been backed to take charge of Bayern Munich one day by the club’s former coach, Ottmar Hitzfeld.
Hitzfeld told German media: “He has done sensational things [at Liverpool]. He has finally made the breakthrough there. I am even convinced that he will create an era in Europe with Liverpool. He has already proved in Dortmund that he can win titles
“I still think he has the skills to be a Bayern coach — and that he will be. I also believe that he will eventually become national coach.”