Liverpool assistant manager Pep Lijnders has called on the club’s emerging youngsters to become regulars and ‘win prizes’ with the Reds.
Liverpool take on Bournemouth in the Carabao Cup on Wednesday evening as Jurgen Klopp’s side look to reach the competition’s quarter-finals.
The Reds lost a number of senior names during the summer with Klopp having rebuilt in midfield, while a number of academy graduates have been handed a first-team chance this season.
Liverpool handed minutes to Luke Chambers, Callum Scanlon, Jarell Quansah, and James McConnell during the Europa League win over Toulouse last week and Lijnders has challenged the club’s prospects to prove they have the mentality to succeed at Anfield.
“What the biggest clubs in the world have is a club mentality from a very young age, same style, the coaches have just one target to teach them the values of the club,” Lijnders told a pre-match press conference.
“Alex Inglethorpe has been at the club 10 years as academy director, Jurgen Klopp here for eight years. Barry Lewtas was here as a young player, now under-23s manager, all these people, me included, we want this path to be open, so you create a healthy, stable club with that culture.
“Buildings are buildings, it’s about the people who sit in it. The people I mentioned, the consistency we have, that creates a pathway. It was not easy to leave Melwood behind [in 2020, for a new training base in Kirkby], but in time we create something here.
“One thing is making your debut, it’s another to win a prize. We want players who win prizes, not just make their debuts. From a young age we want them in finals, competing, that mentality. We have that in the seniors, who won everything with us, and we have young players educated from a young age in the Liverpool mystique.”
One player who has struggled for regular football this season is Harvey Elliott, with the 20-year-old having started just once in the Premier League. Lijnders discussed Elliott’s lack of football and said the England u-21 international is knocking on the door for more minutes.
“I’ve never seen him this good in training. He’s really consistent in his performances, and that’s something we wanted from him as well. He acts more like a senior than you think, same with Curtis Jones, they have been with us such a long time.
“He is someone who has to create, has to play between the lines and make the final ball, that’s the kind of player he is.”