LONDON: Liverpool are evolving and adapting to the absence of top scorer Mohamed Salah and fellow winger Sadio Mane, with the team finding several different ways to attack, assistant manager Pepijn Lijnders said on Wednesday.
Egypt’s Salah has scored 23 goals in all competitions this season while Senegal’s Mane has scored 10 but both are away at the Africa Cup of Nations.
Liverpool struggled to score in the first leg of the League Cup semifinal against 10-man Arsenal which ended 0-0 but recovered with a comfortable 3-0 Premier League win at home against Brentford on Sunday.
“What I like is that we don’t have one weapon, we have so many different ways to attack,” Lijnders told reporters ahead of Thursday’s (Friday 3.45am Malaysian time) semifinal second leg at Arsenal.
“How we are evolving as a team and developing with our positional game is important and I really like it.
“We knew we needed to create goals from everywhere, last passes from everywhere, dribbles from everywhere, attacks from everywhere – not just based on counter-attack or the speed of these two boys.”
Lijnders said midfielder Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain will miss the match against his former club due to an ankle injury while Thiago Alcantara, who has been out of action since mid-December with a hip injury, will only return to action next month.
“I would not rule out the weekend (for Oxlade-Chamberlain) but for sure not tomorrow,” Lijnders said.
“Thiago hopefully he will be in full team training after the international break, to prepare for the Cardiff game (in the FA Cup on Feb 6),” he added.
Arsenal came in for criticism when their derby clash against Tottenham Hotspur was postponed due to a lack of players but Lijnders said it was “difficult to judge from the outside” having had their own games postponed due to Covid-19 outbreaks.
“People don’t see what goes on inside clubs, it is not only players, but also staff. They have to protect players, staff, families and the building,” he said.
“I have full trust in each medical department to make the right decision.” – Reuters