Micah Richards has praised Pep Lijnders for the way he celebrated Liverpool winning the Carabao Cup.
Speaking on BBC 5 Live’s The Monday Night Club (40mins 48secs), the pundit said he loved to see the Liverpool assistant manager celebrating with the players.
“In terms of Liverpool they can be whatever they want. From the manager, to even the assistant manager,” said Richards.
“I saw him dancing in the scenes from the dressing room yesterday. I loved it, I’d love to be around that.”
Lijnders is certainly the life of the party when Liverpool win. The Dutchman is a bundle of energy and enthusiasm and the bond he has with the players and coaching staff is clear.
The 39-year-old possibly had more invested in this competition than any other.
Jurgen Klopp stepped in to speak to the press ahead of the semi-final first-leg amidst difficult Covid related questions. But that aside, Lijnders has held every pre-match press conference in the competition, including prior to the final.
The experience is said to a welcome one for Lijnders. Richards noted how impressed he has been when the Liverpool assistant has spoken before games.
“He (Lijnders) gets it. Even in his press conferences as well, he’s brilliant,” said the former Manchester City defender.
Lijnders’ promotion to Klopp’s assistant in 2018 has run parallel with Liverpool’s period of recent success.
Although the foundations for that success were built while Lijnders was still coaching the underage groups, this is surely not merely coincidence.
His tactical knowledge and passion for the game always come across in abundance.
Taking the next step
Klopp’s contract at Liverpool is due to expire in just over two years.
Who FSG appoint as his successor is a topic open for debate. Steven Gerrard has long been seen as the ideal candidate. But after a promising start, his tenure at Aston Villa has hit some choppy water.
For now, the only other genuine candidate appears to be Lijnders. With his press conference duty in mind, he has started to take a more visible role.
This could be interpreted as grooming him for the big job once Jurgen leaves.
The Dutchman knows the players and the club inside out. In some instances the jump from assistant to main man can be too much for some.
But if you don’t try, you don’t know and in terms of succession planning, it would look to be a decent enough plan.
The other option and our preferred one, is that Jurgen stays forever, with Pep alongside him, of course!