Liverpool ready for ´new start´ after World Cup wait – Lijnders

December 21, 2022

Liverpool are ready for a “new start” ahead of their return to action in the EFL Cup against Manchester City, assistant manager Pep Lijnders has said.

Jurgen Klopp’s side endured a poor showing in the early months of the season, heading into the World Cup break sixth in the Premier League standings – seven points behind fourth place and 15 adrift of leaders Arsenal.

That left Liverpool among those needing a significant improvement heading into the remainder of the season, though Lijnders believes positive signs were shown ahead of the tournament in Qatar, with results including back-to-back wins against Tottenham and Southampton.

“We see it as a new start. The boys are hungry, they are passionate, they want to show this on the pitch,” Lijnders said.

“We know we have to be committed. Against City there will be moments where it will not be easy, but all our boys have this experience. It will be a top show for sure.

“I think we were on our way back, to be honest, I felt that we got momentum, and then it was the World Cup. You have to take life as it is, a lot of things you cannot change, you have to make the best out of it.

“That’s what we always tried to do, we used this time to not only train the lungs, the legs, the heart, but to train the eyes and the mind with video meetings.

“We know we can be successful, there are many things left to play for.”

Liverpool and other sides competing in Europe have previously shuffled their deck for EFL Cup encounters, using them as an opportunity to hand experience to younger players within the squad, and Lijnders says the World Cup showed why rotation is key.

“If there’s one thing this World Cup proves, it is that you need your whole squad. The teams that became successful needed their whole squad,” he said.

“When we play League Cup it’s always in a busy schedule, and we know we have to be top to win these games. We cannot rest players. The boys have to be on top in games, and it’s a perfect time to use the squad.

“Age is just a number, we still believe we need to give our talents chances, not just younger players against lower-league oppositions but against Premier League sides too.

“We want them to have challenges and make them struggle because that’s how they improve. It’s my job and Klopp’s job to improve our players and to improve the team, and that’s what we try to do.”