Klopp paid tribute to the incredible Van Dijk in his programme notes

2022-07-26 0 By

Jurgen Klopp has hailed Virgil van Dijk’s “incredible” comeback, with the manager focusing on his centre-back in his programme notes.In his comeback season following an ACL injury, Van Dijk has made 30 appearances for the Reds – missing only eight games, three of them because of COVID – and helped to keep 17 clean sheets in all competitions.It was expected to be time to pick up his stride, but five months on his level of competition, the Dutchman showed he was getting closer to his best.Van Dijk has been a class act for so long this season, rediscovering his touch and match fitness and leaving no doubt about his place in world football.After a dominant performance at the SAN Siro, Klopp praised Van Dijk’s “extraordinary” journey and admitted he had not been taken for granted by his team-mates or fans.Here’s what the manager said: “I can go back to our last Premiership game, against Burnley.It was a wonderful display of character and game management.””There were some big individual contributions, as usual, but it was a collective effort and it meant we were left with our most difficult road trip yet, picking up all three points.””I do want to mention our number four, our centre-back.Virgil has been unbelievable this season.When you factor in his return, it’s even more remarkable.””It is clear that Virg is definitely good in the medium to long term because the operation was a complete success.””But the truth is, honestly, given everything that’s happened, the level he’s reached so quickly is a surprise.Well, I’ll correct that: if it’s not Virgil, it will be a surprise.””I’ll have to check, but I think he’s had 16 clean sheets on the pitch so far this season.Not conceding in a game is not the only sign of a defender’s form, but it’s important.””I only raise the issue because I think sometimes some players can be taken for granted.From the outside, I mean — from the inside, we wouldn’t allow that.This is often due to them setting their own expectations from previous levels, or perhaps failing to realize that they are playing a role that benefits the team more than they do themselves.””As a manager and coaching staff, we never judge the value of players by social media clips.For every assist and goal, there was an equally important contribution and sacrifice elsewhere on the pitch.To have a successful team, you have to have a balanced team first.””The difference between Liverpool supporters, in my opinion, is that they have the knowledge and education to appreciate players who sacrifice and make headlines.That’s so important in a successful team environment.”