Liverpool don’t have Pep Guardiola in their camp, but they do have Pep Lijnders. The Dutchman is a coach in Klopp’s backroom staff and has been vital in shaping incremental strategies that guide Liverpool tactics.
The team have modified their approach to getting into goal-scoring positions, of getting into better defensive structure and dominating their midfield.
Lijnders explains his views on how Liverpool’s tactics are leading to season of joy and possibility. How the front three work differently, how the team works closely to close out gaps. Most importantly, how the counter-pressing has to work.
“We decided in pre-season we have to work to have a better movement of the ball and the positioning of our midfielders, plus Roberto [Firmino], Sadio and Mo
“Focus on speedy attacks and you go fast towards being a successful team, but you have to focus on really good organisation.
“If you want good counter-pressing then having shorter distances between the players is important. So, if you lose the ball to the opposition, you can give a very intense moment to win the ball back.
“If the distances in midfield are quite wide, then it is difficult to put pressure on [when you have lost the ball].
“If the distances are close [when you are attacking] and they play with each other, then the way the ball moves can create surprise and space for when the opposition reacts.
“Play inside to create wing attacks, wing attacks are a byproduct of good inside play.
“The first way of defending is how you move the ball when you have it. [The key is] how quick you do that so that you make the opposition passive.
“If they don’t have the ball, they don’t attack, so you don’t have to defend.”
-Pep Lijnders via The Times