Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp has allayed fears over an injury sustained by Virgil van Dijk against Tottenham and expects the defender to face Southampton on Friday.
Van Dijk took a knock during a key moment in Liverpool’s 2-1 win at Anfield, as he was left in a two-on-one situation with Son Heung-min and Moussa Sissoko with the score level on Sunday.
The Netherlands international covered the space to prevent Sissoko passing to Son, allowing the midfielder to enter the penalty area before slicing a left-footed effort well over the crossbar, and the Reds got a winner soon after.
Van Dijk was lauded by fans and pundits alike at full-time, though it soon became apparent he was hurt in the incident, as he walked through the interview areas with an ice pack strapped to his ankle after the game.
But Klopp has no worries about Van Dijk’s condition ahead of the defender’s return to former club Southampton.
“Virgil trained yesterday [Tuesday] and today, he has trained normally, and I heard nothing different,” Klopp told reporters. “It all looks okay, quite good.”
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Klopp went on to applaud Van Dijk, who is one of the favourites for the Premier League’s end-of-season individual awards, such has been his impact at Anfield.
And while Klopp knows Van Dijk has improved the Reds, he was also keen to stress that the player has benefited from his time at the club.
“He’s so important to us, not only as a player, but as a person,” Klopp said. “I couldn’t say a bad word about him even if I wanted to.
“He’s a brilliant boy, but he knows that you need the boys around you. Defending is team work.
“Yes, he has improved us, and he has improved since he came here as well. He is a different player to when he was at Southampton.
“Champions League quarter-finals, semi-finals and a final help you as a player.”
Klopp also addressed recent criticism of Mohamed Salah, the forward having been accused of poor form during a run of eight matches without a goal, but the manager insisted he has not been a problem.
“People talk about how many games he hasn’t scored in, but he doesn’t seem bothered,” Klopp added.
“It’s about work rate, doing it again and again, and one day the ball will bounce in your direction. We have 79 points – you can’t have that if you have major problems in a season.”
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