Xhaka’s Arsenal situation unlikely to happen at Liverpool, says assistant coach Lijnders


The Gunners skipper venting at fans would be unlikely to occur at the Reds due to the squad’s discipline, according to their assistant coach

A lack of discipline at Arsenal could be to blame for Granit Xhaka’s outburst towards fans at the Emirates Stadium on Sunday, a situation that has been unlikely to unfold at Liverpool under Jurgen Klopp, according to Reds assistant Pep Lijnders.

Arsenal captain Xhaka was substituted in the second half of their 2-2 draw at home to Crystal Palace and, after hearing ironic cheers from the stands, the midfielder reacted negatively.

Xhaka seemed to sarcastically encourage the crowd and those cheers swiftly turned to boos, with the Switzerland international subsequently cupping his ear and appearing to aim expletives in the direction of supporters before taking his shirt off and heading down the tunnel.

Fans and former Arsenal players have widely condemned Xhaka’s actions despite him being a regular target of supporters, though Unai Emery refused to make clear if he will retain the captaincy at a press conference on Tuesday.

But Lijnders – addressing the media in Klopp’s place ahead of Wednesday’s Carabao Cup clash with Arsenal – finds it difficult to imagine such a scenario unfolding at Anfield due to the characters in the squad.

“In life in general, in the football club, good relationships are best to evolve a club or to evolve a team,” Lijnders told reporters.

“As we say at Liverpool, it’s about the three things, the ‘holy trinity’ we call it. It’s the fans, the manager and the squad.

“These three have to be really connected, they have to have one idea, they have to understand each other.

“Arsenal Football Club knows much better than me how to deal with this, but if you have Jordan [Henderson] and James Milner as your captains, you don’t have to discipline others.

James Milner Jordan Henderson Liverpool“If you’re disciplined yourself, you don’t have to discipline others. That’s a good saying.

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“If you have Millie [Milner], Henderson, [Adam] Lallana, Gini [Georginio Wijnaldum], Virg [Virgil van Dijk], Bobby [Roberto Firmino], [they are] all examples in different ways. Players who never whine, never complain, never make excuses.

“In the hardest moments they never give up, and they never give up our ways, and they always put the team above themselves.

“For a young soccer professional, it’s hard to have a better environment to grow and develop. For me that makes us, or any other team, from a good team to a top team, a good team to a successful team.”


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