Liverpool’s assistant coach Pep Lijnders has revealed the thinking behind Mohamed Salah’s more advanced role in The Reds’ attack this season.
Lijnders spoke to Neil Jones at Goal.com about his return to Merseyside after a brief but unsuccessful stint as manager of NEC Nijmegen in Holland.
Having been officially unveiled as Zeljko Buvac’s replacement as assistant to Jurgen Klopp, Lijnders plays a larger role at the club now and, as such, has a hand in all tactical discussions with the Liverpool boss.
One decision made by the Liverpool coaching staff this season was to evolve the roles of two attacking players – Mohamed Salah and Roberto Firmino.
Lijnders acknowledged that it was a conscious decision taken by the team to move Salah into a more advanced, central role. In turn, Firmino has dropped back to play the part of a ‘number 10’ for The Reds.
Explaining the thought process behind the change, Lijnders said:
“First of all, Mo has the ability to create from the inside. That differentiates him from many others of his type. He’s a real goalscorer.
“So, to have him in the last line as high as we can, with the speed he has, the goal threat he has, it makes it easier for us to create a freer role for Bobby.
“For Mo, it’s really good to understand the game in that way, to be the point. For him it’s great. He’s closer to the goal, he can use his speed more, he’s more where we want him to be. That’s a natural development for him.”
Lijnders goes on to disclose that Klopp knew his team needed to improve their game-management and control the tempo at all times. The Liverpool boss said this had to be achieved through better midfield play along with a more patient approach in games.
With Liverpool stuck right in the middle of a title race with Manchester City and Spurs, having lost just once in the league, and Salah top of the goalscoring charts, it’s safe to say Liverpool’s tactical evolution is bearing fruit.
Whether it’s enough to bring home a first league title in 29 years or a sixth European Cup remains to be seen but The Reds are definitely on the up.
Check out our predicted lineup for the FC Bayern game here.
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