Liverpool’s dreamy and eloquent assistant manager (yeah I find him dreamy, so what?) Pep Lijnders believes that the squad prepares for every game like it’s a final. And all competitions are fought with the same drive and commitment, whether it’s the Champions League or a domestic cup. So the upcoming Carabao Cup final against Chelsea is in theory, no different.
“We have a group of players who prepare each day and work each day to prepare for finals”, he said.
“That’s the good thing, to be honest, because we prepare for each game like a final, so it’s not that different. We always say the cup competitions, the national ones, are like the soul of football. We all say - and we all know - we have so many good players, so many legends in our team, but to become a true Liverpool legend you need to win cups, national cups as well.”
But what makes this final special according to him is the fact that the opponent is Chelsea - a “tough” one he says - and the location being Wembley stadium.
“Wembley represents a lot of things - and one thing it represents is proper love for the game and the love of football. You go there to make history and each cup provides a history.”
And as far as the tough opponent is concerned, Lijnders thinks that they are a top team who can exploit Liverpool’s few weaknesses.
“It feels like they always find spaces we leave; for example, we leave space behind our strikers, they use, we leave space behind our lines, they use, we leave space on the opposite side, they use”, he said.
“They are not an easy opponent to defend against, so we have to be spot on and we need to really have a clear idea and a clear plan on how to attack them defensively. We know we can hurt them with the ball, so that’s what we have to prepare and hope for. It’s good that we have played them twice already so we know more or less what we can expect.”