Pepijn Lijnders has explained how Andy Robertson and Trent Alexander-Arnold's contribution to Liverpool goes way beyond their eye-catching assist statistics.

The defenders are holding a light-hearted competition this season to see who can create the most goals.

Alexander-Arnold's assist for the Roberto Firmino tap-in against FC Porto on Tuesday night took his tally to eight in all competitions as he closed the gap on Robertson's 11.

Watch Alexander-Arnold set up Firmino

But for Lijnders, those numbers don't begin to scratch the surface of the duo's importance to Jürgen Klopp's playing style.

"'Full-back' is just not the right description!" the assistant manager told

"We have a team of 11 at a time - each of whom is a forward and a defender [and], in specific moments, everyone has to feel like a striker. Our dream team goal is that Trent comes through and Robbo scores. They know how to speed up in the right situations.

"Crossing is a by-product of constant movement on the wings. We have this spirit where we want to have the ball, search for wing attacks, take initiative to overlap or underlap.

"Here lies their strengths, that’s why they play for us."  

Despite constantly venturing forward on their respective touchlines, Robertson and Alexander-Arnold are part of a Liverpool backline that has recorded a Premier League-high 17 clean sheets this term.

Lijnders credits the resoluteness at the back to the relentless intensity adopted by the entire team, aided with necessary game intelligence.

"If you want to go fast, focus on attacking. If you want to go far, focus on defending," he continued. "Balance is everything.

"Solve situations as high as possible is the second best way to defend - far away from your own goalkeeper.

"The first way is to make teams passive by changing the tempo of passes constantly. Then defending take cares by itself."

The centre-halves, too, lay down the foundations for Firmino, Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mane to do what they do in the final third.

Virgil van Dijk has emerged as a leading contender for the PFA Players' Player of the Year award, although Lijnders stressed his compatriot couldn't thrive without the help of a teammate alongside him - often either Joel Matip, Joe Gomez or Dejan Lovren.

"Don’t forget Virgil is as good because of the player next to him," Lijnders added. "Joel, Joe or Dejan, all three of them.

"For me you can only evaluate a centre-half as a pair. They lead, they organise protection, the base for good pressing is the positioning of the last line and they are responsible for this."