Premier League • England

Pep Lijnders reveals Jurgen Klopp onside over ‘main improvement’ plan for double Liverpool weakness

Pep Lijnders, Jurgen Klopp Liverpool May 2022

Pep Lijnders has revealed that breaking down deep-defending teams is one of two major Liverpool focuses in their pre-season preparations.

The Reds came within a whisker of an unprecedented quadruple last season, winning two trophies and losing the other two. The Carabao Cup was an important first step and the FA Cup completed a domestic double.

But Manchester City finished top of the Premier League by a point after a thrilling title race. Meanwhile, Real Madrid were the victors in a one-sided Champions League final Liverpool could easily have won.

Given Liverpool kept the excitement going until the very end of a 63-game season, they would perhaps be forgiven for struggling to find ways to improve.

But Reds assistant manager Lijnders has insisted that the players have plenty to be working on before their Premier League return.

Asked how he and Jurgen Klopp have been tailoring pre-season sessions, Lijnders told the club’s official website: “With one goal: to be able to press over 95 minutes.

“Result-wise, concede less and score more against direct top-four opposition – that’s for sure, haha! Performance-wise, for example, finishing better our counter-attack moments, making sure we play the extra pass.

“I think offensively the main improvement point is having less players but more initiative in our build-up to outplay the deep-defending sides better, a flexible structure to break the opposition last line more easily.”

Lijnders added that amid the plethora of ways Liverpool could improve, in the end it comes down to how “brave” the players are in and out of possession.

Lijnders reveals key Liverpool goals

As for the upcoming season, Lijnders described it as “two sprints”, with the World Cup in the middle.

On his club’s goals, the Dutchman wants to see Liverpool players represent the club in “the best way possible”.

“Through ups, through downs, show what we are really about,” Lijnders added.

“If we are the team who can play each game with this attitude, with this hunger to show our style, our way, our talent, if we can see and keep this mentality that we see each game as a final, starting from [Manchester] City on Saturday – which is a final, of course – but this mentality, this hunger as a group, representing the club in this way, then I’m happy whatever happens.”

Reds tactical task is clear

One of the key Liverpool tasks for the upcoming season is clear: enjoy better results against their direct rivals.

Six draws in total against Manchester City, Tottenham and Chelsea ultimately cost them the title when all said and done.

If the Reds can improve against their nearest challengers and chalk up more wins, they will have a real shot at winning a second Premier League title.

Of course, Arsenal and Manchester United have both improved over the summer. Liverpool may have beaten those two teams comfortably last season. Nevertheless, those tests will undoubtedly become tougher too.