Liverpool looks unstoppable.
We’re now beyond the halfway mark of the Premier League season and Jürgen Klopp’s club has still yet to suffer defeat. They’ve drawn only once, capturing an absurd 58 of a potential 60 points.
Pep Guardiola recently claimed this Liverpool club is the strongest opponent he’s faced in his career as a manager.
What makes the Reds so fearsome?
In a revealing interview with The Athletic’s James Pearce, Liverpool’s assistant manager, Pepijn Linders, offered some insight on what makes the team tick.
The entire article is worth a read, but I found Linders’ rundown of a typical training day to be particularly illuminating:
“Early in the morning, I usually call Vitor Manos (elite development coach), I’ll text Jurgen and then come into Melwood. I have a meeting with Jurgen in his office to talk about training. What are we going to do? Who is delivering what and how is it going to look? Do we want to have Sadio (Mane) on the left wing or as the striker? Things like that.”
“When the training is planned, I explain what the ideas behind it are to Andreas (Kornmayer, head of fitness and conditioning), Pete, Vitor, John (Achterberg, goalkeeping coach) and Jack (Robinson, assistant goalkeeping coach).”
“Then I go out and put everything on the pitch. Normally Jurgen has a meeting with the players either in the dressing room or outside to give some details about the sessions. We train always in the same intensity as the game, same concentration and tempo. This is the secret of training in my opinion.”
“Everything is designed around the training. The day basically starts when the training ends. I’ll watch the session back on the video and try to get as many opinions as possible from the people around me. Then the planning starts for the next session. We make decisions about how tomorrow will look. What do we want to do?”
It might not seem earth-shattering, but a few things stand out.
One: communication is vital to Liverpool’s operation. Little is left to chance or assumption, and everyone is made aware of the goals for each training session before they take the field.
Two: creating those goals and deciding how best to achieve them is a collaborative effort. As Linders says, he likes to hear “as many opinions as possible” from the people around him as he reviews the training tape.
Three: creating and communicating clear goals eliminates indecisiveness and fosters intensity and competition.
“These boys have the ability to make even a simple rondo competitive,” Linders said. “The passion and ambition I see, especially on the rainy and windy days here, that for me is what separates us from the others.”
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