Lijnders reveals only thing Liverpool missed against Chelsea; sends Salah, Mane message

Pep Lijnders during a Liverpool warm up

Pep Lijnders sent his best wishes to Sadio Mane and Mohamed Salah ahead of their upcoming absences after both scored in an “unbelievable” game against Chelsea.

Liverpool came away from Stamford Bridge with a point despite having gone two goals up. Mane gave them the lead after capitalising on an error from Trevoh Chalobah. Then, Salah doubled the advantage with a clever finish at the near post.

Chelsea though fought back before the break with well-taken goals from Mateo Kovacic and Christian Pulisic to claim a draw.

Liverpool assistant manager Pep Lijnders, overseeing the game in the absence of Jurgen Klopp, felt it epitomised how his side are “never boring”. He felt more could have come with a better final pass, but was pleased in the circumstances.

He told Sky Sports: “It is never boring with us. Incredible intensity from the start with both teams.

“We would have wanted more control. We had so many good counter attacks but it was just missing the last pass.

“Overall, for the public it must have been an unbelievable game. I have to say, the situation we are in it is a big compliment for the team. We could have made a lot of excuses for today but our boys fought hard with all the heart they have.

“We want to approach each game like it is a final. In each game we play, whoever is wearing the shirt or on the bench, we are showing this character.”

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There were VAR calls looking at potential red cards for both sides throughout the match. Mane was under investigation within 10 seconds for colliding with Chelsea captain Cesar Azpilicueta’s face. For Chelsea, Mason Mount escaped punishment for appearing to kick out at Kostas Tsimikas.

But Lijnders claimed not to have seen either incident in detail and was glad a full complement of players remained on the pitch.

He added: “It was good that game was 11 v 11. We are here to entertain and to win each time and as I said at the start of the interview it is never boring.”

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Pep Lijnders sends Salah, Mane message

Soon Liverpool will have to navigate their schedule without their goalscorers from Sunday. Mane and Salah will be away on African Cup of Nations duty.

Some clubs have tried to block their African players taking part, but Lijnders feels the attacking stars have earned their opportunity to shine on the international stage.

Impressed by their efforts against Chelsea, he wished them well for their upcoming excursions. Furthermore, he thinks his side will be able to cope without them.

Lijnders said: “We have many different weapons. They [Salah and Mane] are incredibly important because they give us face, they give direction in a game and they give us desire.

“I wish them all the best in the Africa Cup of Nations. Everyone knows how it feels to play for your country. They have the right to fight for each prize as it comes.”

Meanwhile, in another interview, Lijnders confirmed Klopp would still be in quarantine for the Carabao Cup semi-final against Arsenal on Thursday.

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