Liverpool on alert as Lijnders plots raid for Reds' Euro 2024 star

Former Liverpool assistant manager Pep Lijnders is preparing an assault on his former club as he eyes a deal for Reds goalkeeper Vitezslav Jaros according to reports in Austria. 

Lijnders has been appointed the new head coach of Austrian Bundesliga giants Red Bull Salzburg and has recently been linked with a loan move for outstanding young Liverpool right back Conor Bradley too. 

That deal looks unlikely but there could be hope for Lijnders in his quest to add a new goalkeeper to his Red Bulls squad. 

Jaros won the Austrian league and cup double last season having joined Sturm Graz on loan and his form was so good that he was included in the Czech squad for Euro 2024. 

Salzburg are in the market for a new keeper following the expiry of Timo Horn’s contract and Lijnders has identified Jaros as his No.1 target according to Salzburger Nachrichten.

Jaros' record-breaking season

Liverpool sent Jaros out on loan during the January transfer window with the Czech  international requiring senior minutes. 

Sturm Graz was chosen as his destination, with their first-choice goalkeeper having to undergo surgery on a torn ACL. Kjell Scherpen, on loan from Brighton, incredibly played the first half of the season with that knee injury but it ultimately proved too much to bear, with the 6’9 giant opting for surgery for the sake of his long-term career. 

Graz went into the loan market for a replacement and turned to the 22-year-old Liverpool man. Having previously been on loan at St Patrick’s Athletic - where he won an FAI Cup and the club’s player of the year award in 2021 - as well as Notts County and Stockport County, this was a big step up for Jaros. 

He stepped into the breach wonderfully well, earning the plaudits of the league’s official website as one of the top goalkeepers in the division. 

Pep Lijnders, Liverpool assistant manager

Liverpool assistant manager Pep Lijnders during the Carabao Cup semi-final 2nd leg match between Fulham and Liverpool at Craven Cottage, London, England on 24 January 2024. Copyright: xAndyxRowlandx PMI-6034-0015

Jaros kept a clean sheet on the final matchday as Graz defeated Austria Klagenfurt, 2-0, with goals coming from Gregory Wuthrich and Amady Camara. It crowned an incredible Austrian league season, where Salzburg were toppled as title holders after an unbroken streak of 10 leagues in a row. 

Graz have made great progress in recent seasons under two-time manager of year Christian Ilzer, who was appointed in 2020. They finished third and second - on two occasions - before finally overhauling the Red Bulls. 

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It was the first time in 13 years that Austria’s league title was decided on the final day, with Graz heading into the final round of fixtures with a two-point lead. The Red Bulls did their part, winning 7-1 against LASK, but ultimately the damage was done before the last day. 

Cup glory came at the start of May against SK Rapid Wien, with Jaros starring in goal during the 2-1 win in the final. He was also involved in Graz’s run to the UEFA Europa Conference League last 16, where they were beaten by Lille. He signed off having played 21 times for Graz, keeping seven clean sheets. 

Jaros joined the Liverpool academy from Slavia Prague in 2017 and won an FA Youth Cup in 2019, and signed a new contract with the Reds back in January before heading on loan.

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