Pep Lijnders says one Liverpool midfielder “has some of the ingredients of Andres Iniesta” and has also explained why he believes Trent Alexander-Arnold is a future Reds captain.
In another extract from his new book Intensity, the Liverpool assistant boss has opened up on the talents of a number of players in the current squad.
Having previously coached at academy level, Lijnders takes a strong interest in a number of the Reds’ young players.
However, the 19-year-old is now back to full fitness and will be further boosted by an eye-catching comparison from Lijnders, who claims there are similarities between Elliott and Barcelona legend Andres Iniesta.
“There is no such thing as like for like in football, but Harvey Elliott has some of the ingredients of Andres Iniesta and thinks like a creative midfielder,” the Liverpool assistant boss said in one excerpt from his book, as quoted by The Mirror.
Not the worst player to be likened to!
Meanwhile, another Liverpool gem Lijnders has worked closely with is Alexander-Arnold, who at 23 is still only at the very start of his career.
The right-back was Lijnders’ captain at under-16 level and is a player the Dutchman has watched evolve into one of the best players on the planet.
Last season, Alexander-Arnold was voted into the players’ ‘leadership committee’ and Klopp’s assistant is in no doubt that he will go on to become the club’s captain one day.
“Jurgen forwarded me a text with the result of the votes for the players’ committee,” Lijnders wrote in another extract from Intensity.
“There were three spots left behind our captain Hendo, vice-captain Milner and leader Virgil.
“I was delighted to discover that Trent was in! Our future captain was a step closer – he should now stay close to Milner to learn as much as possible during this year because it’s the next step in his development. Robbo and Ali were the other two to make the players’ committee.”
Lijnders went on to describe the attributes that make Alexander-Arnold such a unique player.
“Even at the age of 15, he was this natural technical talent,” he continued.
“He had all the characteristics I loved: a mentality to win, passionate to improve – but his emotions sometimes took control instead of him taking control over the emotions.
“He trained with so much power and competition. He grew step-by-step into the wonderful guy he is now, surrounded by a lovely family, he created this superb personality.
“He has this aggression in a positive way. If someone represents this quote of Bill Shankly, it’s him: ‘Playing at the highest level isn’t pressure, it’s a reward’.”
The scouser in our team!
* You can pre-order Pepijn’s book, Intensity, here.