Wednesday night sees Liverpool take on Arsenal in the League Cup fourth round. The Anfield clash is sure to see starts for the Reds brightest youth prospects. Jürgen Klopp’s assistant manager, Pep Lijnders, has outlined what the academy players must do in order to break into the first team.
The Reds made it into the fourth round of the League Cup after beating MK Dons 2-0. It was an impressive performance from a young Liverpool side as they cruised past the Dons, Harvey Elliott looked bright throughout the fixture and Ki-Jana Hoever thumped in a back post header for the Reds second goal.
Pep Lijnders pre-match press conference was broadcast on the club’s official site. During the media gathering, Lijnders told the press that the most important thing that Liverpool’s academy players need to learn to break into the first team is how to play during “the other 30% of the game”. By ‘the other 30%’, Lijnders means when the Reds are out of the ball – he asserted that Liverpool won at the weekend because “our front three defended six Tottenham players all game. Non-stop,” Lijnders added, “that’s what the youngsters need to learn. That’s the next step. How good are you in that 30%?”
This should come as no surprise to Kopites. If seasoned professionals take some time to adjust to Klopp’s style of play, it must be a hell of a lot harder for academy players. The likes of Harvey Elliott and Curtis Jones are undeniably talented in possession, fingers crossed they nail down their defensive responsibilities sooner rather than later so they can make that step up into the first team.