Liverpool assistant Pep Lijnders hails prolific forwards as ‘raptors in Jurassic Park’ after five at Man Utd

Lijnders said having a dedicated preseason with plenty of key players available to prepare for the campaign ahead was crucial in hitting the ground running in front of goal

Lawrence Ostlere
Tuesday 26 October 2021 14:21
<p>Mohamed Salah netted three times in Liverpool’s 5-0 thrashing of Man United</p>

Mohamed Salah netted three times in Liverpool’s 5-0 thrashing of Man United

Liverpool assistant manager Pep Lijnders said the team’s forwards look like “raptors in Jurassic Park” as he hailed their relentless goalscoring form.

Liverpool are the top goalscorers in the Premier League so far this season with 27 goals from nine games, having just beaten Manchester United 5-0 at Old Trafford, and they are yet to score less than three away from home. While Sadio Mane, Roberto Firmino and Diogo Jota have all chipped in, Mohamed Salah has been particularly devastating and his Premier League tally of 10 is three clear of his nearest rival for the Golden Boot, Jamie Vardy.

Asked why the team is in such prolific form, Lijnders said: “You can never judge scoring just by the goals, it’s the way we move the ball out at the back, how we protect it, how our front players are in constantly good positions to score. And then the quality of our front three, they look like raptors in Jurassic Park, they go for it, they are lethal and that’s what we want. If you score in the right moments, these games against Manchester United can happen.”

Lijnders said nothing significant has changed tactically this season, but having a lengthy preseason with plenty of key players available to prepare for the campaign ahead was crucial in hitting the ground running in front of goal.

“Did we change anything? No. We always want to improve and sometimes improving is just going back to basics, and that’s what we did in pre-season. Also top players, and we have a few, they need a break. After an emotional period, a lot of finals, a lot of intense seasons, it’s good for them to have a break because if you want to reach consistency, you have to respect the process of recovery, not only between the games but also between the seasons. Long may it continue.”

Speaking ahead of Liverpool’s Carabao Cup meeting with Preston North End on Wednesday evening, Lijnders confirmed James Milner would be out for several weeks after picking up a hamstring injury at Old Trafford, while Naby Keita got away with only heavy bruising after a lunge by Paul Pogba which saw the United midfielder sent off and Keita carried away on a stretcher.

Lijnders also confirmed that on-loan defender Sepp van den Berg was free to play for Preston against Liverpool. “Yes, of course he should play. It’s like, if you want to be a chef, you need to spend a lot of time in the kitchen. So, what would our message be if we sent our players on loan to get good games and then there’s a good game coming and not letting them play?

“We want to give young players opportunities and for Sepp it is an amazing game. I am in contact with him, he looks forward to it and that’s probably the most important thing. It’s exactly what he needed; a young centre-half who is playing in a different position but is fighting in the Championship. If you can come out of that league you will be ready for a lot. We can’t wait to see him in pre-season next year.”

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