Pep Lijnders recently signed a new long-term contract as the club’s assistant manager, but the Dutchman believes there’s one Liverpool player who could take on his role “tomorrow.”
However, speaking from his new book launch last week, Lijnders singled out one Liverpool midfielder who has the qualities to fulfil his role as soon as “tomorrow.”
When the Liverpool squad were trying to prepare for last season’s Champions League final amid the chaos before the game, where thousands of supporters were held outside for hours before being attacked with tear gas, one player spoke up in the dressing room.
That player was vice-captain James Milner.
“The boys were in and out. What do we do? That’s not a good way to start a final anyway, but that’s for both teams, so no excuses there, nothing like that,” Lijnders said in regards to the delayed kickoff at the Stade de France.
“But in that moment, Milly took the team together, all the backroom staff, everybody there, and the worst thing is I was not even there because I was discussing with the UEFA guy!
“I walk in and see him standing there and he was like ‘if you don’t have full commitment, if you don’t have full conviction, just think about what all these staff members standing here are doing day by day for you guys to perform, that will give you the two or three percent that you will need’.
“As I said before, he could have my title tomorrow, assistant manager.”
Thirty-six-year-old Milner signed a one-year contract extension with the Reds earlier this summer, and previously revealed he has already started taking his coaching badges.
It wouldn’t be at all surprising to see the former England international take up a role in the dugout after eventually hanging up his boots.
Lijnders went on to further praise Milner’s character and the importance of “legends” like him to the club.
“The club are made around these players, around these characters,” Lijnders continued.
“They are so much more than just football players, they are examples, they are truly legends.
“Not legends how you perceive it, but legends in terms of ultimate team players, and that makes them winners for life in my opinion.”