Pep Lijnders: Jurgen Klopp Has Searched for 'Culture of Perfection' at Liverpool

Tom Sunderland@@TomSunderland_Featured ColumnistNovember 19, 2019

Liverpool's Egyptian midfielder Mohamed Salah (2L), Liverpool's German manager Jurgen Klopp (C) and Liverpool's Dutch defender Virgil van Dijk celebrate after winning the UEFA Champions league semi-final second leg football match between Liverpool and Barcelona at Anfield in Liverpool, north west England on May 7, 2019. (Photo by Paul ELLIS / AFP)        (Photo credit should read PAUL ELLIS/AFP via Getty Images)
PAUL ELLIS/Getty Images

Liverpool assistant manager Pep Lijnders has said club chief Jurgen Klopp has sought to create a "culture of perfection" in all areas of Anfield.

Klopp, 52, was named Best FIFA Men's Coach for 2019 after he led Liverpool to the UEFA Champions League title, and his side currently lead the Premier League by eight points.

Assistant Lijnders, 36, spoke to the official Liverpool magazine and elaborated upon the atmosphere of expectation that Klopp has encouraged on Merseyside:

Liverpool FC @LFC

"We searched to create a culture of preparation inside our club, a culture of perfection, and we can feel this now" 👊 Pep Lijnders provides an insight into how consistency has been achieved... 🔴 https://t.co/vDx2XFNWRt

Lijnders returned to Liverpool in June 2018 to serve as Klopp's No. 2 for a second time following a brief stint with Dutch club NEC. He said:

"We searched to create a culture of preparation inside our club, a culture of perfection, and we can feel this now in all the people through all the departments of the club.

"But we looked at it game by game, not searching for the records. In my opinion, a long number of wins is only possible with a lot of dedication and effort by all the staff, from the ground staff: kit management team, the analysts…everyone involved.

"Each game had its own story. We had games where we dominated and owned the pitch from the start until the end, and we also had games where we had to find solutions and overcome adversity. But what was always there was the 'chasing over the whole pitch' attitude of the boys."

Klopp arrived at Anfield in October 2015, leading Liverpool to runner-up finishes in the UEFA Europa League and the Carabao Cup at the end of his first season.

The Reds finally ended their wait for a major trophy under the German when they were crowned kings of Europe last term, and that could be just the beginning of a dominant reign.

It's also fair to say some well-placed, substantial investments have come off as hoped. Klopp praised defender Virgil van Dijk and goalkeeper Alisson Becker—each signed for then-world-record fees in their position—after they received Champions League accolades last term, via the Liverpool Echo:

Liverpool FC News @LivEchoLFC

"I think it's well deserved" Jurgen Klopp has his say on #LFC pair Virgil van Dijk and Alisson Becker being awarded UEFA awards for their part in the Champions League win https://t.co/p8IwBA01hc

Liverpool have made some astute, cheaper signings, like £8 million left-back Andrew Robertson, as well as promoting promising prospects, such as Trent Alexander-Arnold and Rhian Brewster.

However, Klopp rated central defender Joel Matip—a free signing after he left Schalke—as his best signing of recent years, vial Goal:

Goal @goal

What was Liverpool's "best piece of business in the last few years?" Not Van Dijk or Alisson, Klopp has a different suggestion 🤝 https://t.co/v9PAM8JOeQ

Lijnders came back to Liverpool just in time for their historic run to the Champions League pinnacle last season, and he is seen as an increasingly influential part of the club's backroom.

Liverpool writer Joel Rabinowitz recently tipped the Dutchman to contend for Klopp's place at the helm when he eventually leaves the club:

Joel Rabinowitz @joel_archie

Really impressed again by how Pep Lijnders spoke in yesterday's press conference. Seems to be growing in profile and public persona this season. Definitely a prime candidate for Klopp's eventual successor. https://t.co/VQ2VuZfN9R

The incumbent is well known for his energetic approach to man management, and Lijnders spoke of the "need to maintain 100 per cent tactical discipline," a nod to the demands of Klopp's press formation.

Klopp has achieved success at Liverpool thanks to improving squad quality and his own take on tactics, and talk of the "culture" he's developing hints at the legacy that could be left well after his exit.