Liverpool’s senior players, some of whom have won every trophy possible with the club, are eager to get the new era underway with silverware, assistant boss Pepijn Lijnders has explained.
Liverpool take on West Ham in the Carabao Cup quarter final on Wednesday night, and while some supporters may have been expecting a heavily rotated side – especially with home games against Man United and Arsenal sandwiching the tie – Lijnders provided a massive hint that that won’t be the case.
“If you want to build a team who really can compete, you need to play in finals,” said the Reds’ Dutch assistant manager. “That’s why this Carabao Cup is so important – because you play already in January a semi-final.
“To grow, to make this step, that’s massive.
“The most important thing is, the boys – our players, Virgil, Dominik, Trent, Robbo, Mo – these guys have the ambition to win, they want more trophies.
“A few of the bug guns left, who has this passion to put everything in place, certain standards, and I feel that this team want it even more.
“It’s really nice to see them grow in this way.”
Without the threat of extra time, too, Jurgen Klopp could introduce players from the bench knowing exactly how long the maximum time is they could play.
And with options particularly lacking in midfield and attack due to the Reds’ growing injury list, Klopp has little choice really than to play senior stars.
Lijnders revealed Ryan Gravenberch‘s injury is not serious and he could actually train on Tuesday afternoon, but there was particularly bad news on Alexis Mac Allister‘s injury and the Argentine is now surprisingly ruled out until the New Year.
Teenage winger Ben Doak, meanwhile, requires surgery on a knee injury, and Diogo Jota is back training alone but is unlikely to feature against Arsenal as the club seek patience with his hamstring injury.
The other Carabao Cup quarter final ties take place on Tuesday night, meaning Liverpool would know their semi final opponents by kick off on Wednesday.