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‘His brain works differently’ – Pep Lijnders hails Jurgen Klopp’s impact on Reds

Earlier this month Liverpool set a new top-flight record of 22 straight home wins.

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Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp and assistant manager Pepijn Lijnders form part of a three-way ‘brains trust’ with Peter Krawietz (Martin Rickett/PA)

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp and assistant manager Pepijn Lijnders form part of a three-way ‘brains trust’ with Peter Krawietz (Martin Rickett/PA)

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp and assistant manager Pepijn Lijnders form part of a three-way ‘brains trust’ with Peter Krawietz (Martin Rickett/PA)

Liverpool assistant manager Pep Lijnders believes the impossible pursuit of perfection has driven the club to their current position as the Premier League’s best.

And because Jurgen Klopp’s “brain works differently” every day it can bring surprises which keep things moving in the right direction.

The Reds have run away with the Premier League this season, dropping just five points in 29 matches as they opened up a 25-point gap over defending champions Manchester City before the suspension of all football due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Their quest for a first top-flight title in 30 years remains on hold due to the ongoing uncertainty but Lijnders stressed the protocols and practices put in place during Klopp’s near five-year tenure means the club are now perfectly positioned, having missed out to City by just a point last season.

“The departments, how they evolved over the last four or five years, they all search for perfection knowing that perfection doesn’t exist,” Lijnders told liverpoolfc.com.

“See how our pitches are prepared each day by our ground staff… these things make us consistent.

“Each department is searching for and has the ambition and passion. I believe that only comes first from your leader and second, that it’s trust and everybody wants to give one per cent more, so the team is better prepared for the next game.

“I think we made big, big steps in this. A big compliment for each department.”

Earlier this month Liverpool set a new top-flight record of 22 successive home victories, extending their unbeaten league record at Anfield to 55 matches.

It is no coincidence the club’s upturn in fortunes, which has brought one domestic and two European finals – the second of which resulted in their Champions League success in June – has coincided with the appointment of Klopp.

They added to that this season with victory in the European Super Cup and the Club World Cup, the one trophy which had evaded them.

Everything revolves around the charismatic German, whose larger-than-life personality has the effect of lifting all those who work him and energising them to excel.

But the team he has assembled does a lot of the heavy lifting and a collaborative approach means they could absorb the loss of Klopp’s previous assistant and most trusted lieutenant Zeljko Buvac in April 2018 after a 17-year working association together.

“He is very intelligent. His brain works differently to many others, that’s for sure. Each day he surprises me – and we worked how long together? Four and a half or five years. He changes perception in five minutes,” added Lijnders.

“We really feel that we are a team. We prepare together, we plan together, we act together, we coach together.

“I’m responsible for the training process, Peter (Krawietz) is really responsible for the analysis of the opposition and analysis of our team.

“All the ideas Jurgen has and the way he wants to set up and be competitive in each game, we just try to support him in the best way possible.

Liverpool assistant manager Pepijn Lijnders is part of the three-man 'brains trust' along with Jurgen Klopp and Peter Krawietz
Liverpool assistant manager Pepijn Lijnders is part of the three-man ‘brains trust’ along with Jurgen Klopp and Peter Krawietz (Richard Sellers/PA)

“Three brains can do much more than one brain, if the three brains think in a common way and have the same messages and same passion and same dedication.

“That’s the secret if you are working with a team, that everybody wants the same and understands the way we want to play and the way we want to develop on the training pitch.”

PA