Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp has defended Virgil van Dijk, his current captain and longest-serving player, amid heavy criticism this season.
Van Dijk, who replaced Jordan Henderson as captain this summer, has made 236 appearances since joining the Reds in 2018, winning seven major trophies. The Dutch defender’s form has come under scrutiny, with legendary Dutch footballer Marco van Basten questioning his leadership qualities.
However, Klopp has stood by Van Dijk, making it clear that even the best players go through tough spells. The Liverpool boss compared Van Dijk’s situation to that of former Manchester United star Rio Ferdinand, reminding critics that even the greatest players have performances that are not always their best.
Van Dijk, who has made 14 appearances this season, has contributed defensively with four clean sheets as well as two assists and a goal. His performances are crucial to Liverpool’s title chase, with the team currently in second place in the league, two points behind leaders Arsenal.
Liverpool’s Virgil van Dijk responds to criticism over leadership
Van Dijk, who has also faced questions over his leadership with the Netherlands national team, has defended his captaincy by highlighting his commitment and contributions to the team. He has earned 64 caps for the Netherlands and was part of the side that finished fourth in the UEFA Nations League earlier this year.