MX23RW : Sunday, March 17 16:10:44

Van Dijk is Liverpool's key man in Klopp's book

Van Dijk is Liverpool's key man in Klopp's book
© Reuters
The Holland defender has lived up to the world-record fee that brought him to Anfield.

Virgil Van Dijk has had a huge impact on Liverpool’s season and manager Jurgen Klopp feels the best is yet to come as the club’s fight on two fronts continues.

Klopp was gushing in his praise of the Holland captain after he scored the pivotal second goal in a 3-1 win over Bayern Munich at the Allianz Arena to secure a Champions League quarter-final place.

Since the world’s most expensive defender arrived at Anfield in January 2018 he has played a significant part in making the Reds’ defence the toughest in the Premier League.

Van Dijk has made a total of 37 club appearances this season, keeping a remarkable 19 clean sheets in that time.

His statistics are even better when restricted to the Premier League with 17 shut-outs in 30 matches, which has allowed Klopp’s side to take on Manchester City head-to-head as they trail the defending champions by just a point.

No wonder the manager could not hide his delight at the form of Van Dijk, whose other important contribution is to improve the players around him with Joel Matip – the club’s fourth-choice centre-back – impressing since getting into the side after injuries to Joe Gomez and Dejan Lovren.

“What can I say? I could write a book about his skills, about his strength, how much I like him, what a fantastic person he is,” said the Reds boss of his £75million man.

“So young, already so mature, so strong, all good.

“But Virg knows he can play better and that we can play better than we did (in Munich).

“It’s a difficult place to come. Not a lot of teams have on their cards an away win at Munich. We have that night. Difficult, but cool.”

Another key factor in Liverpool’s continued ability to stay in the race at home and abroad is the form of Sadio Mane.

The Senegal international scored twice at the Allianz, his first a wonderful turn to deceive Germany goalkeeper Manuel Neuer which team-mate James Milner described as “ridiculous”, to take his tally to 10 in as many matches.

His last three scoring games have all been doubles and his timing could not have been more impeccable just as concerns were being expressed about Mohamed Salah’s form of three goals in the last 10 and none in the last six – easily his longest run without scoring for Liverpool.

Mane now has 19 for the season, just one fewer than the Egypt international, having taken on the goalscoring burden in the last three months.

Sadio Mane celebrates a goal
Sadio Mane is in flying form (Adam Davy/PA)

“It’s so obvious that I don’t have to speak about it,” said Klopp of Mane’s recent form.

“He knows it, everybody knows it. I don’t want to speak about it really. It’s so important that these boys stay fit.

“Remind me after the season and I will sing my own song about Sadio Mane if you like. He’s a really good footballer and long may it continue.”

The only downsides to the night were an injury to Jordan Henderson, who rolled an ankle early on which is likely to rule him out of Sunday’s trip to Fulham, and an unnecessary booking for left-back Andy Robertson which rules him out of the Champions League quarter-final first leg.

“Hendo’s twisted ankle, we have to see. It looks serious enough, and when you have to change in the middle of the park it’s not ideal,” said Klopp.

Click here for more stories about Jurgen Klopp

Click here for more stories about Liverpool

Share this article now:

Loading ...

Failed to load data.

Loading ...

Failed to load data.

Select and display your favourite team's news and scores in this panel

Loading ...

Failed to load data.

Loading ...

Failed to load data.

Select and display your favourite team's news and scores in this panel
Premier League
FA Cup
Scottish Premiership
La Liga
Serie A
Ligue 1
Primeira Liga
Turkish Super Lig
Belgian Pro League
Greek Superleague
Segunda Division
Serie B
Swiss Super League
Russian Premier League
Ukrainian Premier League
Major League Soccer
Argentine Primera Division
Liga MX
Uruguayan Primera Division
Australian A-League
2Manchester CityMan City30242479215874
3Tottenham HotspurSpurs30201957322561
5Manchester UnitedMan Utd30177658401858
7Wolverhampton WanderersWolves30128103836244
9West Ham UnitedWest Ham31126134146-542
10Leicester CityLeicester31125144043-341
13Newcastle UnitedNewcastle3198143140-935
14Crystal Palace3096153641-533
15Brighton & Hove AlbionBrighton2996143242-1033
18Cardiff CityCardiff3084182757-3028
20Huddersfield TownHuddersfield3135231857-3914

Subscribe to our Newsletter

Transfer Talk Daily
Match previews - twice weekly
Morning Briefing (7am UTC)
Ultra close-up image of Kevin De Bruyne [NOT FOR USE IN ARTICLES]Get the latest transfer news, match previews and news direct to your inbox!

Loading ...

Failed to load data.

Loading ...

Failed to load data.

Select and display your favourite team's news and scores in this panel
Login, I already have my ad-free pass
Log in to customise Sports Mole
Buy ad-free access (show me the options)
Buy monthly ad-free access for £1.20/month
Buy yearly ad-free access for £12 (2 months free)
Settings - Logout - Manage your account
Settings - Logout - Manage your account