Thiago and Jota set for first Liverpool starts as teen defender could make debut
Pep Lijnders has offered a clear hint both Thiago and Diogo Jota will make their full Liverpool debuts in the less than glamorous surroundings of Sincil Bank.
And the Reds assistant boss believes both players will help take the Champions to another level, with the highly regarded coach insisting that Thiago’s quality, in particular, will not only improve Liverpool’s game, but the quality of the players around him.
Asked if the £20m signing from Bayern Munich is too good a player to appear at Lincoln in a League Cup game, he shook his head vigorously, and replied: “The German competition is like this as well.
“A lot of times you draw a third division club in Germany you play away, that’s how they try to help, so he knows these kind of teams. He knows those games.”
Thiago has in fact, only once played a lower league club in his career, in the German Cup at SV Rodinhausen, who are a fourth tier team in Germany, so Sincil Bank could still come as something of a culture shock.
Yet it is the player’s culture that Lijnders is so excited about. The Dutchman is widely regarded as one of the most accomplished technical coaches in English football, with an eye for tactical detail that gives the Anfield club a real edge.
And his assessment of Thiago will delight Liverpool fans, as he explained the thinking about bringing the technically brilliant Spain international midfielder to the club.
“With some signings you get direct improvements, like a keeper making saves, a striker scoring goals. But indirect development is the most important of signings,” he explained.
Liverpool are keen to repeat last season’s success – and you don’t want to miss a thing, surely?
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Liverpool got their title defence off to a shaky start as they edged out a seven-goal thriller against Leeds.
In terms of transfers the Reds have completed the signing of Thiago Alcantara and Wolves’ Diogo Jota has arrived too, in a shock deal worth a potential £45million.
Youngster Ki-Jana Hoever is set to head to Wolves in a £10million deal, while Gini Wijnaldum continues to be linked with Barcelona. There’s a lot to keep track of.
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“Because he is so calm and he plays so many creative passes all the other players start playing like that. This is the power of the example, the power of models. He will not only improve our game but improve all the other players.
“This team deserves a player like him. He will make sure that we keep evolving. Teams adapt, teams try to destroy our plans, and it’s most important that we stay unpredictable. Thiago gives us unpredictability in the spine. He will add something to our team.”
Jota has been signed to provide depth to Liverpool’s front line, but Lijnders – who played against the winger when he was a young player in Portugal – believes he is far more than a back up player, and will get plenty of games.
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“What can I say? His technical level is on the same as our front three. He has so much future in the game and he will have a great pathway inside our club. He’s like a pressing monster, so he will fit in straight away!”
The assistant boss promised Lincoln fans a “strong Liverpool team” that will surprise a few people, but there could be a debut for 19 year old centre-half Rhys Williams, who was on loan at Kidderminster last season.
He will play alongside Sepp van den Berg, with Joel Matip and Joe Gomez injured, though Gomez will be back for the weekend.
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