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5 key things from Pep Lijnders’ pre-Norwich press conference

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An enthusiastic Pep Lijnders took over the press duties ahead of the League Cup meeting with Norwich, speaking animatedly about Kaide Gordon, Ibrahima Konate and Curtis Jones.

Here are five things Liverpool’s assistant manager told the media and supporters in his press conference on Monday:

 

1. Time to “attack” the League Cup

The Reds have not had a successful run in the League Cup of late, with penalty shootouts, Premier League opposition and a trip to Qatar putting a spanner in the works.

But it remains “an important competition, despite what people are saying” for Lijnders, Klopp and co. with the club yet to add a domestic cup to the tally under the German.

“We want to introduce new players and second, we have this group of players inside our building who won so much, but to become proper legends you need national cups as well so we want to attack them!”

 

2. One name confirmed to start

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Monday, August 9, 2021: Liverpool's Curtis Jones during a pre-season friendly match between Liverpool FC and Club Atlético Osasuna at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Rotation will be the word once more, but you can write Curtis Jones‘ name in the XI with a permanent marker as he is guaranteed a start.

Lijnders confirmed as much for what will be Jones’ 50th game for Liverpool, a milestone that will see him come full circle as “it all started with these kinds of games.”

It means he could be sitting alongside the likes of James Milner, Naby Keita or Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain in midfield.

 

3. Reds to be without 4 at Carrow Road

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Saturday, September 18, 2021: Liverpool's Thiago Alcantara is treated for an injury during the FA Premier League match between Liverpool FC and Crystal Palace FC at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Moreover, Klopp’s options have become clearer for Tuesday night’s clash, with Thiago, Trent Alexander-Arnold, Roberto Firmino and Neco Williams all to play no part.

The Spaniard will miss at least the next two games with scans on his calf yet to determine the severity of his injury, while the game is too soon for Trent and Williams.

Firmino is to return to “parts of team training” on Monday before stepping up his recovery.

The most poignant note from Lijnders on the situation was that “In one week we lose two really influential midfielders, that’s the bad thing.”

 

4. The next in line to inspire the whole academy

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Tuesday, September 14, 2021: Liverpool's Andy Robertson (L) and Kaide Gordon during a training session at the AXA Training Centre ahead of the UEFA Champions League Group B Matchday 1 game between Liverpool FC and AC MIlan. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Having long been instrumental in acting as the bridge between the academy and the first team, Lijnders’ excitement for the club’s future stars is infectious, to say the least.

Kaide Gordon is one name that could feature on Tuesday and the “fire” he showed before his senior pre-season call up won the assistant manager over and the sky is truly the limit.

“He’s a typical Liverpool Football Club winger, in my opinion. He has goals, speed and we really like him and we are really happy he is with us!”

As are we, and there is a lot more where Gordon came from.

“I’m excited about our academy, there are so many talents! Diamonds! So many special players. There are so many who cannot wait to take their step up.

“Young players never let you down, they never do and they never will.”

 

5. Reds have a “beast in terms of physics” in their midst

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Saturday, September 18, 2021: Liverpool's Ibrahima Konate and Virgil van Dijk during the FA Premier League match between Liverpool FC and Crystal Palace FC at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Ibrahima Konate made his Liverpool debut against Crystal Palace, a solid performance that offered a glimpse at what is to come from the young defender.

Klopp was equally full of praise post-match but knows there are still “harsh lessons” to come and Lijnders echoed the sentiment and nodded to the famous settling-in period needed at Anfield.

“Robbo said it to him: All of us need time to adapt to our style. Virgil is probably one of the only ones who came in but he still needed to adapt,” Lijnders explained.

“He’s a beast in terms of physics! He can catch so many players, strong in the air, has a really good build-up so strong offensively as well. But he’s still so young.”

Another outing could come at Carrow Road, with Joe Gomez and Nat Phillips the other candidates.

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