“Anfield is screaming for these players” – The importance of Liverpool’s academy

8 November 2017

Liverpool coach Pepijn Lijnders has praised the club’s approach to youth development and their commitment to promoting academy players.


Lijnders serves as the Reds’ bridge between Kirkby and Melwood in his role as first-team development coach, working alongside Jurgen Klopp.

Previously Liverpool’s U16s coach, Lijnders built his side around Trent Alexander-Arnold and Ben Woodburn, who have both since established themselves in the senior frame.

Rhian Brewster caught Klopp’s eye as part of Lijnders’ Talent Group, who train once a week at the first-team training ground, with the striker set for a bright future on Merseyside.

And Lijnders has praised Liverpool’s approach to nurturing young players, with the route between academy and Anfield clear, and essential.

“Everybody always speaks about the future but it can’t come quick enough, in my opinion!” he says.

“It’s a new generation knocking on the door and we open the door constantly, I think, so there’s a pathway.

“It’s a must for Liverpool—not just to create players but to win prizes with them.

“Anfield is screaming for these players, they have everything and they give answers if you let them.

“We are really pleased that they are part of our structure and part of our ambition.”

MOSCOW, RUSSIA - Tuesday, September 26, 2017: Liverpool's first-team development coach Pepijn Lijnders during the UEFA Champions League Group E match between Spartak Moscow and Liverpool at the Otkrytie Arena. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Alexander-Arnold and Woodburn serve as the shining examples of Lijnders’ work so far, as well as the Dutchman’s shared philosophy with Klopp.

And Lijnders explained how the ethos around Liverpool merits the progress of young players, and particularly local talent, alongside more tangible, on-field success.

“There are a few clubs in the world, only a few, where success is not determined by just trophies, it’s trophies and homegrown players. Liverpool is one of them, in my opinion,” he added.

“I come from a coaching culture where you produce, you produce and you produce and what you don’t have, you buy. Sometimes I have the feeling in England it’s the opposite.

“I believe in it, I believe the academy is a big advantage for us. These two boys and many others are on the right way.”

Lijnders courted interest from clubs in his homeland earlier in 2017 but turned down the opportunity to take up a managerial role at Go Ahead Eagles to remain on Merseyside.

While the 34-year-old clearly has the nous required to step up into a more focal position in the future, his work with the Reds takes precedence.

His two key examples are just the beginning for Lijnders, and his pledge to the academy serves as a major boost for Klopp moving into the future.

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