In just under a week’s time, Liverpool Football Club will find themselves in their second consecutive Champions League final when they take on fellow Premier League rivals, Tottenham Hotspur at the Estadio Metropolitano in Madrid, Spain.
Saturday, 1 June 2019 is the date that every single person who is truly connected to the club is eagerly anticipating and Pep Ljinders in no different. Having returned to Anfield in the summer of 2018 to join Jürgen Klopp’s first team coaching setup in a senior role, Pep has been an integral part of this season’s Champions League campaign. During the Reds’ training camp at Marbella, the Dutchman chatted to Liverpoolfc.com about how the side maintained their team spirit throughout and managed to climb every mountain in front of them this season. Loyalty and faith are two words that came through strongly as Pep described the philosophy that has driven Liverpool to reach their second UCL final in two seasons.
Read on for Pep’s view on how the first team look going into the final, how pleased he is with the side’s attitude during the training camp and lastly, how much it means for him to be involved in the Champions League final after having missed that night in Kiev on 26 May 2018.
How the team look: Our boys look hungry, to be honest. I think they can’t wait; it’s a special moment for us and the club and we love the fact that we can compete for our club with our way of football. The journey has been intense, full of passion and ambition from the boys. We always stayed loyal to our style and that, for me, is what’s the most pleasing thing. We came here our way - never boring! We competed in the world’s two strongest competitions and in both we are in it until the very end. We will give everything again, trying to make our fans proud. LFC football from start until end.
The team attitude: I don’t like them, I love them. What professionals! It’s great to work with them, it’s never a mistake to train with everything you have. I’m patient, I expect more mistakes because we ask them to play with initiative, to attempt more, attack more and better, press more and hard work. But this, in the end, makes you accomplish more. Good things just take time. Our way of play has to become a natural skill. No ego, team-play with a 100 per cent winning attitude, because the difference between a good team and a top team is the character of each individual to put the team above themselves.
How much it means: It means the world to me. Firstly, because it’s with Jürgen; secondly, it’s with one of Europe’s most traditional and historical clubs; and third, it’s with a group of players who deserve to represent Liverpool in this final.
I could not have said it better myself... This group of players absolutely deserve to be in the final and they definitely deserve to lift Ol’ Big Ears on Saturday and bring number six home to Anfield.
Up the Mighty UCL Reds!