Liverpool assistant boss Pep Lijnders issues stern denial of common Reds theory
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Liverpool's assistant manager Pep Lijnders has denied the Reds' recent success has been because of a change in their playing style.
The reigning Premier League champions have undergone a complete makeover from the team which Jurgen Klopp inherited in 2015.
Initially Klopp's side displayed a fast, frantic version of the Gegenpressing football he found success with at Borussia Dortmund.
Over the intervening years Liverpool have become a more solid, controlled unit, but Lijnders insists their tactics have not changed.
"People always say 'ah Liverpool changed style' no, we never changed style," Lijnders said on the Big Interview podcast.
Pep Lijnders insists Liverpool have not changed their style of play
(Image: Liverpool FC via Getty Images)
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"We have a more compact team, we are better positioned when we have the ball so they see less hectic moments.
"That is where our focus as a staff lies in each meeting and session. Creating this high-intensity tactical coach of counter-press football and improve our way."
The most noticeable change in Liverpool's performances has been a clear dominance over possession, with them clocking up over 80 per cent of their share of the ball in their latest displays.
A key function of the Reds' defence though is their pressing traps, designed to dispossess opponents higher up the field from which to launch their counter attack.
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It's been an extremely interesting start to the season for Jurgen Klopp's men.
They got their title defence off to a shaky start as they edged out a seven-goal thriller against Leeds, before going on to conceded seven in a hammering by Aston Villa.
Virgil van Dijk's season was ended by injury in the 2-2 draw at Everton, leaving the title favourites looking far less secure at the back – especially with Alisson's injury worries too.
But there's no slowing down in what is going to be a busy campaign – with Klopp ensuring his men continue at full pace as they bid for more title glory.
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"The better you press, the better you counter-press, the less you run, it is that simple because you don't have to go 60 metres back," Lijnders added.
"We call it organised pressing, organised counter-pressing, organised chaos.
"As staff, we are consciously working on what happens before and what happens around [the press].
"That's the organisation and for me, our positional game in the last years has improved so much. What that means is we get better and more control of the games."
He continued: "We always say the 30 per cent where we don't have the ball, we want to be different than all the other teams in the league.
"We don't say we want 70 per cent of the ball, we say when we don't have the ball, that is when we want to be different.
"That's our fingerprint, that's our way. Because we believe when we don't have the ball, we dominate that moment if it is counter-pressing.
"And the only way to have that freedom in the attack is to know that when we lose the ball, we can recover it quickly."
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The Reds continually work on their pressing in training
(Image: Liverpool FC via Getty Images)
But Lijnders was keen to stress this sort of dominance has not been achieved overnight, but rather through hours of drilling in the same messages on the training ground.
"I think the main reason we won, are decisive and could keep it up for a long period, is we focused on the 30 per cent in training constantly," he added.
"That is where we wanted to improve constantly, but as I said before, the better you attack, the more you have the ball, the more you are connected and the closer you have players to each other.
"All these things, the better you counter-press, the less you run. But the better your positional game, the less hectic moments you see."