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“Luis Diaz! What a karaoke signing!” – Pep Lijnders on Liverpool’s initiation night

We’ve seen one video so far and Jurgen Klopp has said that it was a “night each second should have been on a video”. Now, Pepijn Lijnders has revealed more from Liverpool’s pre-season initiation night.

The annual pre-season welcoming for new signings and staff members took place during the Reds’ training camp in Austria last week, with a video of a backroom staff member going viral as he absolutely killed it with a rendition of Vanilla Ice’s Ice Ice Baby.

Klopp spoke of wishing it was all on video for the world to see and how a night like that, with the bond shown, the spirit and camaraderie among the squad is a reason why he is excited for the new season.

Now, assistant boss Pepijn Lijnders has revealed how Luis Diaz took the microphone and kicked off the night with confidence and style.

“If the first one goes out there and starts singing with passion, confidence and with a willingness,” Pepijn said at his book launch on Wednesday night.

“It was Luis Diaz! What a signing – a karaoke signing!

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Sunday, May 29, 2022: Liverpool's Kostas Tsimikas, Fabio Henrique Tavares 'Fabinho', Diogo Jota, Ibrahima Konaté, Luis Díaz celebrate during an open top bus parade around the city after the club won the Cup Double, the FA Cup and the Football League Cup. (Photo by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

“Taffa would say ‘very very good, very good.’ The Brazilians were at the back, without their shirts on, they put their shirts around their head, they were jumping up and down.

“We have a group of people who came together from all around the world but they have one thing in common and that’s pure love of the ball and the game, with a great ambition, great passion – and that’s a great base to be a good character in football.

“And they can party!”

With covid meaning that initiation nights hadn’t been on the agenda for the past two summers, development coach Vitor Matos, who joined the club in October 2019, might have thought he had gotten away with his turn, but Lijnders explained:

“Vitor [Matos], he has worked for the club for three years but because of covid he thought he had got away with it, but now…

“So he was showing me ‘I’m going to sing this Pep’ and I see that it’s a Portuguese ballad and I’m thinking ‘oh my god, should I say anything or shall I send him there and him look like a fool or should I help!’

“So five seconds before he goes on I say to him, ‘You know what you have to do, just do Freed From Desire and the whole place will go off. He was one of the last ones and the whole place went berserk!”

These social gatherings are clearly a key part of Liverpool’s identity and togetherness, fostering relationships that Lijnders sees as helping to give that extra “two or three percent.”

It’s great to see and hear these stories and it can only make Liverpool fans more excited for the season ahead.


* Pepijn’s book, ‘Intensity’, is available to buy now.

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