22-year-old sold by Liverpool shares what Pep Lijnders text him straight after he left
Photo by John Powell/Liverpool FC via Getty Images

22-year-old sold by Liverpool shares what Pep Lijnders text him straight after he left

Former Liverpool youngster Tom Clayton has praised Pep Lijnders for his hands-on approach at Anfield.

Clayton was on the books at Liverpool for 13 years before being released last summer. Now with Swindon Town, the 22-year-old has spoken to The Athletic about his experience of leaving the Reds.

“I got a nice message off Pep [Lijnders],” said the defender. “He wished me all the best and said he would keep an eye on me.” Clayton also commented on Lijnders’ famously energetic coaching style.

Photo by James Gill – Danehouse/Getty Images

“He’s got some energy, Pep, hasn’t he? When I was around there, he took most of the sessions,” he said. “I was used to him when he coached the under-16s as he took a few of our under-14 sessions. He was exactly the same with the first team as he was with us back then: loads of energy.

“From my experience, the gaffer (Klopp) is quite quiet and Pep was quite intense.”

Lijnders takes the responsibility

Clayton’s words don’t come as too much of a surprise. Most Liverpool supporters will by now be familiar with the concept of Lijnders being a more hands-on coach than Jurgen Klopp.

Anyone who’s ever watched the Reds’ ‘Inside Training’ videos will have noticed that Lijnders is often the voice you can hear instructing the players. Jurgen meanwhile tends to slink around with his hands in his pockets and a grin on his face.

When things were going well for Liverpool, this was fine. Klopp’s number two is clearly an excellent tactician who lives and breathes the game.

Photo by John Powell/Liverpool FC via Getty Images

But with the team’s form taking a turn for the worse this campaign, questions have started to be asked of Lijnders. With every passing defeat, the decision to release a book at the beginning of the campaign has looked like an almighty faux-pas.

Simultaneously, the Dutchman has been reported as taking on bigger influence in terms of Liverpool’s recruitment. As the Reds’ form has lurched horribly this season, scrutiny has been placed on how well the likes of Darwin Nunez and Cody Gakpo actually fit in tactically. But although some questions are legitimate, the pair have actually been good signings.

So, although he’s been painted as the bad guy at times this season, Lijnders is far from that. If Liverpool are to get back to winning ways under Klopp, his assistant manager will be a big part of the reason why. Clayton’s experience only serves to flesh that out.

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