Thursday, April 25, 2024

Liverpool coach reveals Arteta approach

Liverpool assistant coach Pep Lijnders has revealed that Mikel Arteta tried to lure him away from Anfield when he first took over as head coach at Arsenal.

Needing to build a backroom team at short notice in December 2019, the Spaniard tried to tap up the Dutchman having been impressed by his work at Anfield. The two had initially met in 2017 while studying for their UEFA Pro Licence with the Welsh FA.

Recalling the approach in his new book ‘Intensity’, Lijnders said: “Mikel Arteta had asked me to be his assistant manager when he was preparing for his new step into management.

“We were together years earlier on the Pro Licence course, [though] his request came out of nothing. Mikel had said he felt: ‘There was just a difference playing Liverpool before and after you came in.’

“This was the biggest compliment I ever got from somebody, I think, but I politely said no to him.”

Lijnders, currently in his second stint with Liverpool having initially joined during Brendan Rodgers’ tenure, has been integral to the Reds’ recent success both on the domestic front and in Europe.

While Lijnders turned down a move, another of the Dragon Park cohort from 2017 did accept a role under Arteta. Freddie Ljungberg, already at Arsenal as an assistant to Unai Emery and later, when the Spaniard was sacked, interim head coach, was integrated for a year alongside new faces Steve Round and Albert Stuivenberg.

The latter pair have been a steady presence in the dugout at Emirates Stadium ever since.

Arteta’s other assistants include Miguel Molina and Carlos Cuesta, keeper coach Inaki Cana Pavon and set piece maestro Nicolas Jover who replaced Andreas Georgson this time last year.

It’s unclear at this point if anyone will replace Shad Forsythe who recently left his position as head of performance after eight years at the club.

The Gunners are also without a head of performance at the Academy after Tony Strudwick, who replaced Des Ran in 2021, left to join West Brom as their Director of Medical Services.

UPDATE – in a great post-US tour article for The Athletic, @Gunnerblog reveals that Tom Allen, previously ‘lead sports scientist’, has been handed the new title ‘head of sports science’ and is effectively Forsythe’s replacement.

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I came to read the comments I’ll come back again


Ain’t worth commenting on I suppose


People like that can make a difference, we were so much better defensively and attacking with the set piece coach. I’m sure there are others out there…

Cooked Patino

You forgot to mention Joan-Carlos Zapato, the club’s new ‘Head of Kicking’. Is the club doing a good job of keeping him away from the cameras or is he just super-focused on getting 50 shots out of Jesus?


Wasn’t that an April fool’s joke?

Emi Rates

Was he brought out for Don Raul, Willian and other shit people who needed a kicking?

Pat Fried Rice with Egg

That’s a paddlin’


Pretty embarrassed to say that I read that article (skimmed it pretty quickly, to cut myself a little slack!), and didn’t get it was an april fool’s article until reading the comments. Seems as though there’s a coach for every department now (throw-ins etc etc), so I genuinely thought we’d brought in a coach specifically to do some in-depth work on our squad’s striking technique. Had hoped he’d be the man to fast track Odegaard to that next De Bruyne level! Thanks Blogs.

Heavenly Chapecoense

This post today is saying Freddie Ljungberg was “integrated” in the coaching team for a year. That was straight april fool stuff. Freddie was asked to do his job from the stand.

Eazy Deezy

We just need to get a new Head of Running Forward, a Head of Turning Left, and a Head of Turning Right – then we’ll be a force to be reckoned with

Brady’s bunch

We have a loaves and Fish coach coming in the new year 🙏


This Pep is not yet ripe.

We’ll come back for him when he’s bald. 🧑🏻‍🦲

Weren’t we also linked with Liverpool’s previous assistant, Željko Buvač (yes I did have to Google that name). Sven Misleadtat wanted him to replace Wenger.


I remember that. He was Klopp’s right hand man at Dortmund and he’s the guy who came up with the high tempo football they played there

A Different George

It’s not the Googling that impresses me. It’s those diacritical marks.

Emi Rates

Not just of critical importance, they’re of diacritical importance.


We have a set piece coach????? You could’ve fooled me!.

The team needs to work their set pieces and throw-ins. We are positively abysmal on both.

Mesut Ö’neill

We went the 34 games or so without conceding from a corner if my (aged) memory serves me right.

That’s not too shabby!!


Indeed!….but I was thinking about taking rather than defending set pieces, same for throw-in.

Obviously people disagree with me but I recall some rather shoddy free kick routines along with losing possession after a throw in, usually in our own half.



Giuseppe Hovno

yeah but then we conceded from a corner so now we need a new set piece coach

Heavenly Chapecoense

You’re right. I remember Wenger and Bould’s zonal defence that was a disaster. Personally, I am also interested in offensive set pieces. Last season, it was still the time of the game where I go to the fridge get a beer and I never missed a goal or anything of notice.

Ameh John Silas

That’s not true, we consider I think just one goal from set pieces last year and we scored several from set pieces, that’s his job, mind you the goals Gabriel and co scores from corner kicks are part of it


Last season we were 3rd best in the league for attacking set pieces and 6th best for defensive set pieces.

Hardly “positively abysmal”.


You probably haven’t been watching the gooners from your northern base.


I manage to watch just about every Arsenal match (touch wood) but given the strong opposition to my views it could well be my memory letting me down.

Still, nice to debate in an adult and educated manner, which is why I like this blog so much.

Mayor McCheese

Each of us in his own way must learn to deal with adversity in a mature and adult fashion.

We scored 16 goals from set pieces in the league last season – the 3rd highest.

We conceded 8 goals from set pieces in the league – the 6th lowest.

Thierry Bergkamp (non negotiable)

I didn’t think we conceded that much


I genuinely think you’re watching the wrong team…Arsenal…plays in red and white…known as the Gunners!


No that was your fifa save where you signed Lisandro Martinez and paid the price on set pieces


Don’t know why, but I think Shad Forsythe is a made up person.


I think you’re confusing him with Sham Forsyth

Man Manny

He is not.


I don’t believe you, Man.

Nainsley Aitland Miles

He’s the son of Bruce. It’s a generation game.


Do we have a coach for not bottling the season? Or one for not snatching defeat from the jaws of victory?

If not we need to hire one.

King 14enry

Stop being so miserable.
Positivity is a lot more enjoyable. Try it, just once.

Emi Rates

I think you’ve invented a job for yourself there, Fats. Give Vinai a call and float the idea.

cannon and ball and arse'n'all

Fats, I always take your comments with a pinch of salt, as I am sure you often post them with such. But last season is gone and this season is about to begin. It is time to drop the negativity. If the criticism was deserved then I’d take no issue, but our squad is full of kids who achieved more than they probably should’ve last season. Average age of 23/24, which means for every player aged 28 meant one of 20. I remember what I was like at the age of 20. I took criticism very personally. These might be… Read more »

Heavenly Chapecoense

Henry used to say about the young players: “If the boss put you on the field, it is because he knows you can do it” something like that.


Cheeky from Arteta, but I love it.

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