News'Always a test' - Pep Lijnders previews Premier League opener

Published 5th August 2022

Liverpool assistant manager Pepijn Lijnders believes the Premier League's opening day always offers up a stern test.

The Reds will kick off their 2022-23 top-flight campaign against newly promoted Fulham on Saturday lunchtime at Craven Cottage.

Jürgen Klopp's men defeated Manchester City last weekend in the FA Community Shield and have been preparing for a first league encounter since.

"Of course, it's a big high. It's always a test," Lijnders said ahead of the first game of the season.

The lowdown on Fulham
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PreviewThe lowdown on FulhamLiverpool get their 2022-23 Premier League season under way against Fulham at Craven Cottage on Saturday lunchtime.

"If you play the Community Shield... we always say playing finals in February, like the League Cup [last season], is really important.

"It's good for the team to win. It's like a trampoline for the next part of the season and having this test against City in the end of the pre-season, where you are working [for] five weeks with only one target, [which] is to win the Community Shield.

"Everybody who said it's a friendly, it's not - especially with what happened last year - but we really wanted to win.

"We prepared the whole pre-season towards that game. It's nice the team performed, and the boys showed their fitness, but they showed also a lot of creativity in a lot of moments where you think, 'OK, wow.'

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"So that has to go hand in hand, that the boys can be themselves [and] that Trent plays a pass and the whole stadium thinks, 'How did he see that over there?' and that Luis Diaz keeps the ball up and beats two men.

"These things are really important for us and that's only possible with a real team spirit and a real team fight.

"So, are we ready for Fulham? We are preparing ourselves to be ready. But it's a team full of confidence after last year, so it's never easy."

Published 5th August 2022