Liverpool assistant manager Pep Lijnders
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Liverpool assistant Lijnders outlines respect for Chelsea ahead of Carabao Cup final

Liverpool assistant manager Pep Lijnders has outlined his respect for Chelsea as the two teams prepare to meet in the Carabao Cup final.

Liverpool take on the west Londoners at Wembley on Sunday as the sides compete for the first silverware of the season.

The final will have a familiar feel after two domestic cup final clashes in 2021/22, with Liverpool emerging triumphant via a shootout in each.

 

Chelsea have had a disappointing Premier League campaign to date under new manager Mauricio Pochettino, though Lijnders believes the Argentine is beginning to find his best team at Stamford Bridge.

Lijnders called Cole Palmer ‘one of the finds of the season’ and heaped praise on Pochettino, Conor Gallagher, and Enzo Fernandez ahead of the clash.

“A good final only starts by respecting their strengths and where to start? Enzo Fernandez is the one where it all starts. He is the one who can play passes everywhere,” Lijnders said at his pre-match press conference.

“They have some instability. At the beginning of the season a lot happened there. So how can you expect them to perform straight away? I think the manager is doing an unbelievable job along with his coaching staff.

“I think he [Mauricio Pochettino] has finally found his starting XI and Cole Palmer has been one of the finds of the season, taking them from a rival. Then they have Conor Gallagher is a proper leader with the armband, from the academy. He is a number 10 but gets his shirt dirty as well. If you let them play between the lines, Palmer and Gallagher there with their technique, it will be really hard.

 

“They have speed up front and when they play out of our counter press, so we will need both boxes to defend them. A final always starts with respecting the strength of the opposition and defending with all we have. That’s what we want to prepare with one target. That’s to give joy and emotions to the fans. That is our philosophy at the club with Jurgen [Klopp] – to give joy to the fans – and I am happy we can give them a final to start with. That’s all you can ask for at the start of the season.”

Read – Premier League: Eight talking points ahead of the weekend

See more – Seven of the greatest moments in the Chelsea-Liverpool rivalry

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