In Pepijn Lijnders ‘third diary entry from Liverpool’s training base in Austria, the deputy manager reveals what happened in the Reds’ camp in Salzburg on and next to the field …
It has been really good, positive days for the boys since my last entry in my diary and we are very satisfied with all the hard work that is being done – but we don’t just want to train the boys on the pitch.
We want to use the time as optimally as possible. The players have to relax between the sessions and get the right food so that we can physically complete each session 100 percent, but the use of the images is also very important.
There was a half-hour presentation on Thursday before dinner from Thomas [Gronnemark] about what we are really good at in throw-in situations and where we can improve.
On the pitch, you may have seen that our rondos looked a little different in the video on our website.
How said we play with a “we want the ball” mentality – so if we lose it we want to act as quickly as possible to get it back. When we have the ball we can attack and it’s the best defense there is.
These rondos stimulate this; The moment you lose the ball and do a 20 meter sprint and have to defend yourself on this field, it reaches a level of concentration that you cannot achieve in normal rondos. The normal rondos are fine because if you don’t play well you end up in the center of the circle and that’s the same in the game – if your attack isn’t good, you have to defend more. In this case, even better, not only do you have to go to the center, but you have to do it from 20 meters by sprinting into the circle.
The good thing is that the focus is so high because they have to hold the ball, they have to play, play, play until the two who want the ball back get to the center. This often happens in games when you lose a ball. You have to sprint 20 meters and then defend.
If you look at Robbo’s situation against Man City a few years ago, he pushes the first, he pushes the second and then the third and in the end he ends up with the goalkeeper . This is unpredictable in our pressing and it happens through exercises like this.
We live by the motto: Emphasize the defensive game and encourage the attacking game. We play in that order, doing what is necessary first and then what is pleasant. This is how we train and prepare the team. So yesterday we focused on working on the last line and pitted eight players against our last line and still they have to defend as high as possible. The basis of our LFC pressing game lies in the positioning of our defense. That’s why our first three work the way they do, because without support, it doesn’t work. We have so much experience with our last line, but even with experienced players the last line is like a plant – it needs at least one day of water a week.
The “short team”, as Arrigo Sacchi put it, because we want to decide how small the playing field is. We spent so much time yesterday moving our last line the way we want, correcting those who are not moving in a coordinated manner, and constantly assisting our first three to push. The difference between good and bad is often only about five meters, as Johan Cruijff once explained. For us at Liverpool FC it’s often five meters forward, haha! Our way. The offensive way.
Ibou is doing really well. It comes from a different style, but there are some similarities and it adapted well to our needs. You can see him, he’s very calm on the ball, he knows how to attack and when to intervene with the ball, when to play the outside pass, when to play the inside pass, when to switch the game. He has a good understanding of the game in terms of offense. He’s strong defensively and we wanted that because we play high – our center-backs and full-backs have to be able to catch players when they break because when you play so aggressively, when players slip through, of course we do, has Ali but we want to catch her with our legs first – solve the problem with the legs. One thing Ibou has his legs!
When we train, every player is under maximum pressure. There is never a situation where you only have time and that’s exactly what he feels now, with a little more training fatigue, adjustment to a new club and a new style and then these sessions where he is constantly under pressure and has to be good Make decisions, then you see what kind of player you bought. He’s got everything for the kind of center-back we want and now it’s all about learning Millie, adapting and listening, listening to Virg and so on. I like that a lot, we have so many young players.
With that in mind, one of the highlights of the camp so far has been hearing Virg’s voice organizing and leading this last line.
I heard a story yesterday too that Mo and Harvey Elliott were sitting together in the dining area. Harvey had some bread and some fruit on his plate and Mo asked him how many slices of bread he had that day. Harvey said one and Mo told him to just eat the fruit! Harvey said to me, “I always learn from these guys!” We have so many players who help the younger and new players – you can feel during this camp that the talents are integrating and I like that a lot.We had a lot of focus on our set pieces this morning. These training camps are not just about getting back to basics, they are also about bringing in new ideas and taking steps to evolve and get better. In every session there are certain topics and today it was really about set pieces and we played a game 10 against 10, in which each set piece was repeated on half a pitch. It was really good.
In these exercises we call Joel “The Tower” – it’s really not fair for the guys to have set pieces against him because he clears everything!
Joel was also the player of the Tournament when we did a competition with road rules in the evening session on Friday, which we call “finals”! The better you play, the longer your team stays.
I also have to point out that Ox has achieved some absolute worlds in training in the past few days – and you love to watch it!
As the other night After the day’s training the teams came together – the coaching staff, the physios, the press team – we had the idea of making a game. Usually we never do that because we usually always watch soccer games, but we got the idea to play Uno because one of the kitchen staff brought it with us. We played it with a lot of people and one thing is for sure, you immediately learn the characters of every single person!
Jürgen kept the table control, but John Achterberg provided more templates than Trent! Jack Robinson was calm, analyzed, and finally won. It was very fun to play all together!
But more importantly, overall it’s so good for us here in Austria. It feels like “we” – the players are hungry, ready to improve, and everyone is pulling together: to make us better.