Pep Lijnders explains how Klopp’s Liverpool have evolved this season

Pep Lijnders TEAMtalk

Liverpool assistant boss Pep Lijnders has explained how Jurgen Klopp’s team have evolved this season.

Lijnders, who confirmed winger Xherdan Shaqiri will miss Wednesday’s Carabao Cup third-round tie at MK Dons through injury, on Tuesday detailed where he believes the Reds have improved this season.

The Dutch coach has revealed that the Reds have worked on involving the two full-backs more and says that Klopp’s men are now better at “dictating the play”. And with six wins from six in the Premier League so far this season, and with only Chelsea holding more possession in their fixtures so far, it’s hard to disagree.

Lijnders, who stood in for Klopp at the Melwood press briefing, said: “We always want to build on our best games, for me we are much further ahead than we were this time last year. The backline seems much more comfortable being higher and we can control games better.

“The team absorbed the way we want to play, it became a natural skill.

“Our team has become much better in dictating the play. We have made some adjustments by having full-backs more involved and the midfielders more controlled. The variety out the back is better.

“We had a short pre-season and have to keep building during the season and finding our ‘machine’ again. It’s not easy. Many teams change their set-up against us. Example, Chelsea we analyse and they play 5-4-1, and then they play 4-3-3 against us.”

Lijnders, 36, who said the Reds will be competitive against their League One opposition, added: “We want to attack this cup. We will put a team in place which for me is a Premier League team, and the players feel this responsibility as well. We will be playing against a highly-motivated team.

“They look forward to it, and I am. We are preparing for the game same as Chelsea.

“We want to compete in each competition, we want to attack in each competition. Cup competitions are the soul of football because it represents a past like when smaller cubs can play against Premier League clubs and give historic games to fans. For me the cups are special.

“Wherever you are it’s about two things, one is development and the other is about winning. Everything is about hope but hope has to become conviction. Each experience makes us stronger, losing made us stronger.”