Liverpool fans have been rocked by widespread reports that Jurgen Klopp’s right-hand man Zeljko Buvac has left the club.
The blow comes just two days before the Merseyside outfit try to secure a place in the Champions League final.
Buvac has a strong bond with Klopp having met the German at Mainz when both were players at the club.
Since the 50-year-old embarked on a coaching career, Buvac has been right alongside him, but now there are doubts over the pair’s working relationship.
According to the Daily Record, Buvac has left the Merseyside outfit following a dispute with his long-time friend, but there have been conflicting reports.
The Liverpool Echo states that the assistant manager, who is believed to be the brains behind Liverpool’s Gegenpresseng approach, has not quit his role but will not see out the rest of the season as he will take a leave of absence.
With the Reds’ most important game of the season just around the corner, fans are concerned about the news of Buvac’s absence.
Zeljko Buvac is an important part of Liverpool. He hasn't left the club, but he will be out for the rest of the season (personal reasons). Huge loss. I wouldn't be surprised if Liverpool finish 5th because of this. Let's hope I'm wrong. #LFC
— Tobias Hult (@TobiasHult) April 30, 2018
As if I wasn't already worried enough about Wednesday, Buvac has left and now Slovenian referee Damir Skomina has been appointed as the referee for the second leg between Liverpool and Roma on Wednesday. We have never won a game which he's officiated…🤦♂️ #LFC
— Jack Gill (@jacklfcgill) April 30, 2018
— Chris Searle (@SearlyC82) April 30, 2018
— Oneil Gardner (@koth0913) April 30, 2018
Is anyone reputable reporting anything other than 'on leave of absence' for the departure of Zeljko Buvac? Be amazed if the 'falling out' is true. Jurgen Klopp calls him the brains. Attributes all his succeess to him. #LFC
— James Gray 🥊🎾🏎 (@jamestingray) April 30, 2018
The timing of Buvac leaving/not leaving/taking a break etc etc could not be any worse. He’s always been regarded as the tactician in Klopp’s team. Hoping it doesn’t rock the boat, but it’s not good news. #LFC
— Tom Hamer (@Tom_Hamer7) April 30, 2018
— Dan (@TheDarkJudge) April 30, 2018
Odd timing with Buvac. Hopefully all’s well and he returns at the beginning on next season #LFC
— Joel ☭ (@JoelGibbs_) April 30, 2018
If there has been a rift, I doubt its been good for the players and staff to witness. So perhaps Buvac taking a step back is a positive in the short term. #LFC
— Karl (@KMacoftheKop) April 30, 2018
Liverpool, who had to settle for a goalless draw against Stoke City last weekend, head into the Champions League semi-final second leg at the Stadio Olimpico with a 5-2 advantage.