Premier League • England

Pep Lijnders hints at big Liverpool changes for EFL Cup clash; no VAR regrets

Liverpool coaches Pep Lijnders and Jurgen Klopp

Liverpool assistant boss Pep Lijnders has hinted at big changes for Liverpool’s League Cup quarter-final clash with Leicester at Anfield on Wednesday night.

The Reds have been playing through the current Covid outbreak that has hit Premier League and EFL clubs and are conscious of burnout to their top stars. With that in mind, Lijnders, speaking in place of Jurgen Klopp, admitted that changes have to be made for the Foxes clash.

He said: “We don’t look at games like this, we only look to improve our team. What’s more important is what we are going to do rather than who is going to play.

“If you saw our line-up against AC Milan away, everyone was probably thinking ‘wow, that’s brave’ and we only thought ‘game on’.

“At the beginning of the season we say to the players that we want to make memories together. We want to create special games together and with the fans together, and that’s what we are going to do tomorrow.

“We’ll try to make it a cup night for the fans, full of desire with all we have. But for that we need fresh legs as well. We will prepare for a strong Leicester team.”

Lijnders reveals no Mike Riley chat

Lijnders also revealed that there’s not been any conversations with referees’ chief Mike Riley after Sunday’s Tottenham draw.

Klopp felt Harry Kane should have seen red, while Liverpool were also denied a clear penalty in north London.

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After when asked if the Reds had spoken to Riley, Lijnders added: “No, because everyone saw what happened. I think VAR is a good thing that is in football. It can help to make the big decisions right.

“Everybody makes mistakes, I make mistakes, if me and Jurgen [Klopp] make big mistakes we get punished, if players make big mistakes they get punished, but if referees make big mistakes probably or usually the teams or the players get punished as well and that’s not correct.

“I’m not talking about the small mistakes in the game because that’s football, it goes so quick. But VAR is there to help the referee and what I still don’t understand is why VAR is always a separate person, why VAR is not part of a team. They need to be a team because together they are responsible.

“I wish we had VAR to make better decisions as coaches because then I won’t make mistakes.”

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