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Liverpool’s front three were “like raptors in Jurassic Park” against Manchester United on Sunday, according to assistant manager Pepijn Lijnders.

The humiliation of United took Liverpool’s goal tally to 41 from 13 matches this season with Mohamed Salah (15), Roberto Firmino (6) and Sadio Mané (6) responsible for 27. It is their highest combined total at this stage of a campaign and a by-product, Lijnders believes, of Salah and Mané having an extended rest and full pre-season.

“You can never judge scoring just by the goals scored,” he said. “It’s how we move the ball from out the back, it’s how we are protected, it’s the whole package that allows our front players to constantly get good positions to score. And then the quality of our front three. We said they look like raptors in Jurassic Park. They go for it, they are lethal. If you score in the right moments then these games – for example Man United – can happen.

“But did we change anything? No, we always just want to improve. Sometimes, improving is just going back to basics and that’s what we did in pre-season. Also, top players need a break. After emotional periods, after a lot of finals, a lot of intense seasons, it’s good for them to have a break because if you want to reach consistency you have to respect the process of recovery. Not only between the games but also between the seasons.”

Jürgen Klopp will make changes in the Carabao Cup again when Liverpool travel to Preston on Wednesday although Kaide Gordon, the teenager who made his debut in the third round at Norwich, is unlikely to have recovered from injury.

Naby Keïta is sidelined as a result of Paul Pogba’s red-card offence at United but avoided serious injury. “We assess it day by day,” Lijnders said. “It’s looking good. It was a bad tackle but luckily Naby’s foot was not on the ground so it’s just a bruise. It would have looked much worse had his foot been in the grass.”

James Milner is expected to be out until after the international break with a hamstring injury sustained at Old Trafford but Fabinho should return for Saturday’s home game with Brighton.