Former Liverpool defender Conor Masterson has piled praise on Jurgen Klopp’s right-hand man Pep Ljinders.
Masterson spent five years at Liverpool from 2014-2019. The 22-year-old Irishman is now at QPR.
He had just one season with the senior team but that included a huge moment. He was named on the subs bench for the Champions League quarter-final with Manchester City in 2018.
Prior to that he’d captained the Reds U18 team. And that earned him an invite from then coach Brendan Rodgers to train with the senior side.
Before that he worked under Lijnders at U16 level.
“He’s the best I’ve coach ever had, and I’ve had some good ones,” Masterson told Goal.
“Pep’s love for the game is immense. He got the best out of me. Every day I’d be going into training thinking ‘this is gonna be good’. He put on sick sessions!
“Obviously Klopp is the main man at Liverpool, but Pep is a huge reason why they have reached the levels they’ve reached. What a coach, man.”
The centre-back mixed with some huge names. But he says one star stood out a mile – even though the player was considered something of an enigma.
“[Philippe] Coutinho was good, but Sturridge was on another level.
“He was so sharp, he had pace, he could finish, he had skill, he could do everything. He stood out a mile to me.”
Trent was a ‘hot-head’
Masterson played in the same Liverpool youth team as Ben Woodburn and Ovie Ejaria. But one current star left the biggest impression.
That was Trent Alexander-Arnold although Masterson says he remembers him slightly differently.
“Trent was a hot-head back then!” claimed the defender.
“But what a player. He played in midfield, but when we went up to the Under-18s the coaches decided that his best pathway was going to be at right-back.
“Good decision, eh?”