LIVERPOOL — Liverpool have said that assistant coach Zeljko Buvac is to spend “time away” from the Merseyside club from now until the end of the season.
Buvac has been a loyal assistant to Jurgen Klopp, working as his No. 2 at Mainz, Borussia Dortmund and now Liverpool.
A report in the Daily Record claimed that Buvac had left Liverpool following a deterioration in his relationship with Klopp.
Commenting on the matter, Liverpool said: “Zeljko is spending some time away from the first-team environment, between now and the end of the season, for personal reasons.
“The club considers the matter to be private and therefore will respect that privacy by not making any further comment.
“Zeljko remains a Liverpool employee and his position at the club is not affected by this absence.”
Klopp and Buvac have been close friends since being teammates at Mainz, where the Bosnian then became an assistant to Klopp before following then him to Dortmund.
After arriving at Liverpool in October 2015, he signed a six-year contract at Anfield, along with Klopp and fellow assistant Peter Krawietz, in July 2016.
Klopp has referred to Buvac as “the brain” when discussing his coaching staff in the past, with former Dortmund midfielder Nuri Sahin saying in 2013 that Buvac was “basically Klopp’s twin” and that the duo saw “football in exactly the same way.”
Speaking about his relationship with Klopp in 2016, Buvac told the Daily Express: “As players there was a direct connection straight away.
“Kloppo as a player was the same as he is as a manager. His character was the same, he wants to win, you cannot help but like him.
“Both of us were looking to become managers and we promised each other: ‘If I am the first manager, I will take you and if you are the first manager you will take me.’ He came first. It is a friendship.
“Before every training session and after every training session we talk together. Before every match and after every match we talk.
“In training I am observing and watching and if I have the feeling something needs to be changed I will speak to Kloppo. We discuss it: ‘Why should this be? Why that?’ But it is a decision we come to together. That is the way in training and that is the way in the match.
“If it is necessary, I get up from the bench and that is okay. I don’t need to ask. Together with Peter we have six eyes. You see more than if only one man is looking.”
Glenn is ESPN FC’s Liverpool correspondent. You can follow him on Twitter: @GlennPrice94.