Assistant manager Pepijn Lijnders has described Joel Matip‘s line-breaking runs as a “new weapon” for Liverpool, with a tactical switch allowing for his goal against Leeds.
It was the moment we had all been waiting for, as Matip surged up the pitch at Anfield, played a one-two with Mo Salah and clipped a brilliant finish over Illan Meslier for 2-0.
Those trademark runs have become a feature of Liverpool’s game as their No. 32 has reclaimed a starting role this season, and finding the back of the net was a reward for his persistence.
Lijnders, who often speaks with captivating depth on the Reds’ tactical approach, has now discussed how Jurgen Klopp and his staff have looked to use that “new dynamic” to their advantage.
“As always, we’re always searching for new weapons, we’re always searching for new dynamics to bring the ball out of the back,” the Dutchman told reporters.
“We felt that, or we see that, our team became better at recognising when to step, when to switch quick.
“With Joel, but also with Ibou, Joe and Virg, going into midfield like that, when they are the free player and when there is space, they can really go in to commit.
“It’s not the first time that it happened – we call this the ‘classic Joel dribble’!
“He does this a lot in the small-sided games, for example, he comes a lot one-vs-one with the goalkeeper when you play five-vs-five or six-vs-six.
“I really believe that our positional game, or the way we bring the ball out from the back, improved massively over the years.
“This is one of these steps we had to make, that our centre-halves are able to…basically you want to create the last pass from everywhere.
“That should even be a centre-half who is able to play the last pass – even Ali should be able to play the last pass.
“Then you see that the team is connected, and that’s a good sign.”