Zeljko Buvac takes time away from Liverpool

Liverpool’s preparations for their crucial Champions League semi-final second leg against Roma have been dealt a blow after it was revealed assistant coach Zeljko Buvac will be absent.

Manager Jurgen Klopp’s right-hand man is spending some time away from the first team from now until the end of the season for personal reasons.

Speculation began circulating on Sunday the Bosnian had quit but the club have dismissed that by stressing Buvac remains a Liverpool employee and his position is not affected by this absence.

However, Press Association Sport understands the club considers the matter to be private and therefore will respect that privacy by not making any further comment.

Buvac was on the touchline for Saturday’s goalless draw at home to Stoke but his absence in Rome’s Stadio Olimpico is an unnecessary distraction.

The timing is unfortunate, if not extraordinary, to say the least as Liverpool ready themselves for a potentially difficult second leg in the Stadio Olimpico on Wednesday, even though they hold a 5-2 lead from last week.

Buvac has been Klopp’s trusted right-hand man for the last 17 years and the Reds boss refers to him as ‘The Brain’ of his backroom staff.

The pair played together at Mainz in the early 1990s and were reunited when Klopp made him his assistant having become manager in 2001.

Having won promotion together the pair moved to Borussia Dortmund in 2008 where they won back-to-back Bundesliga titles and reached a Champions League final before arriving at Anfield.

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