Liverpool assistant manager Pepijn Lijnders has explained the role that James Milner has played in developing their rondo exercise.
The 33-year-old midfielder, who is capable of playing in various other roles, sees his present deal at Anfield expire next summer.
How did Milner inspire Liverpool’s rondo routine? Five things to know…
- James Milner joined Liverpool from Man City in 2015.
- He’s since gone on to make 195 appearances in all competitions.
- Under manager’s Brendan Rodgers and Jurgen Klopp he’s been fielded in numerous positions.
- Current assistant manager Lijnders has explained how Milner was so good at the rondo training exercise that he had to up the ante.
- His current rondo regime now requires those chasing the ball to intervene within the first six passes.
Lijnders was initially part of Jurgen Klopp’s backroom staff before leaving Merseyside for the NEC manager’s job in his native Netherlands, though he’d last for 22 matches before returning.
His reappointment coincided with Zeljko Buvac’s departure. The Serbian coach had been with Klopp since he became Borussia Dortmund manager in 2008, but his departure would open a vacancy, which Lijnders subsequently filled.
Since then Lijnders has undertaken a key role in training sessions which is paying dividends as Liverpool currently lead the Premier League by eight points after 14 matches played.
Lijnders admits to being inspired by those under Klopp’s watch including Milner, who has played a big part in developing their rondo exercise, which entails five players tasked with keeping possession from two others.
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“The five-v-two rondo is a good example. It’s actually called Milly’s rondo now, after I got inspired by James Milner, because he always intercepted the ball within the first few passes,” he told The Guardian.
“He was really quick and brought the focus of the rondo to another level. I was like: ‘How can I come up with a rule that everyone will execute with his kind of intensity?’
“So I gave an extra incentive for the two players in the middle if they would intervene within the first six passes. So I told Milly: ‘This is your idea!’ The other players loved it.”