LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Sunday, July 31, 2022: Liverpool's first-team development coach Pepijn Lijnders during the pre-match warm-up before a pre-season friendly match between Liverpool FC and RC Strasbourg Alsace at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Pepijn Lijnders has already given 5 reasons why his Salzburg will be like Liverpool

Pepijn Lijnders was officially unveiled as head coach of Red Bull Salzburg on Monday, with the Dutchman clearly taking lessons from his time at Liverpool.

Lijnders took Jurgen Klopp‘s resignation as an opportunity to step out of his assistant manager role and establish himself as a head coach.

That has led him to Salzburg, where he is joined by two more ex-Liverpool staff in Vitor Matos, who will be his No. 2, and Andreas Kornmayer, who will head the fitness department.

Rightly, the focus will be on Lijnders, whose only previous senior management experience was a brief spell in charge at NEC Nijmegen and a handful of games stepping in for Klopp.

It is no surprise that he has taken cues from his long spell working alongside the German at Liverpool, then, as his first interviews revealed.

MADRID, SPAIN - Wednesday, March 15, 2023: Liverpool's first-team development coach Pepijn Lijnders during the UEFA Champions League Round of 16 2nd Leg game between Real Madrid CF and Liverpool FC at the Estadio Santiago Bernabéu. Madrid won 1-0 (6-2 on aggregate). (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

“Our identity is intensity!”

A line coined by Lijnders during his time at Anfield, the 41-year-old has kept it as his mantra leading the Austrian outfit.

“Our identity is intensity! We want to play special games, that’s the main goal,” he told reporters at a press conference on Monday.

“I want to field as many attacking players as possible. We have to play passionately, attack high and build a relationship with the fans – then they will give us a lot in return!”

Counter-pressing is “law”

The intense, suffocating pressing style employed by Klopp and later influenced by Lijnders at Liverpool will be replicated at Salzburg.

“It’s about creating a common idea, a common plan, which will be that counter-pressing isn’t a proposal, but it’s a law!” he explained in his first interview with the club.

“So that will be the main idea, having the ball, and when losing it, get it back.”

4-3-3 is his system

Though Lijnders could often be credited with the tactical tweaks within Klopp’s system, it was – and remains – the belief that 4-3-3 is the best formation.

“I believe in 4-3-3, with three strikers. With three strikers you can press in a really unpredictable way,” he explained.

“Especially when your midfielders join in as well in this kind of pressing.”

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Wednesday, March 13, 2024: Liverpool's manager Jürgen Klopp (L) and first-team development coach Pepijn Lijnders during a training session at the AXA Training Centre ahead of the UEFA Europa League Round of 16 2nd Leg match between Liverpool FC and AC Sparta Praha. (Photo by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

The leadership group

One of the most important things Klopp relied upon at Liverpool was his leadership group of senior players, to help him manage the squad.

Most recently that was Virgil van Dijk, Trent Alexander-Arnold, Andy Robertson, Alisson and Mohamed Salah, and at Salzburg, Lijnders will foster a similar unit.

“I want to have 11 captains on the field who will take responsibility both on and off the field,” he told reporters.

“At the same time, we will select a group of five players who will be the face of the team.”

And a focus on youth!

Lijnders has already jokingly expressed his desire to sign Conor Bradley and been linked with moves to Bobby Clark and Vitezslav Jaros.

PRAGUE, CZECH REPUBLIC - Thursday, March 7, 2024: Liverpool's first-team development coach Pepijn Lijnders (R) gives instructions ot substitute Bobby Clark during the UEFA Europa League Round of 16 1st Leg match between AC Sparta Praha and Liverpool FC at Stadion Letná. (Photo by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

That comes from his clear emphasis on youth, which he takes to Salzburg.

“The only thing I said to Jurgen in October or November last year when he asked me what I was looking for was: I want to go to a club with a strong academy,” he said.

“Not least because a young player will run through walls for you. Experienced players may sometimes be looking for a hole in the wall.”