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Virgil van Dijk “back to his best” hails Jurgen Klopp – “Never a real problem”

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Virgil van Dijk has emphatically silenced his doubters throughout the season, and Jurgen Klopp has hailed his captain as “back to his best.”

That Van Dijk’s performances need to be scrutinised with a fine tooth comb by opposition fans to find any faults speaks volumes of how imperious the captain has been this season.

You don’t need to tell Liverpool fans twice that the Dutchman is back to his commanding best.

The 32-year-old dominates in the air – no Premier League player has won more aerial duels (113) – and is just as proficient on the ground, exemplified by his corralling of Erling Haaland over the weekend.

On Van Dijk’s return to form, Klopp said: “If just an armband right here (taps arm) would make us the best version of ourselves again we all should try it, put it there and let’s see what happens.

NOTTINGHAM, ENGLAND - Saturday, March 2, 2024: Liverpool's captain Virgil van Dijk celebrates his side's winning goal in the ninth minute of injury time during the FA Premier League match between Nottingham Forest FC and Liverpool FC at the City Ground. Liverpool won 1-0. (Photo by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

“Definitely a big step again, but just back to his best. When you play the level Virgil played so many years for us and there’s a dip after an injury, everybody discusses like it is over.

“It’s not nice, but it’s the world we are living in. That’s how it is. It was never a real problem.

“If you play at the level the boys play, little problems can lead to a big difference in performance, that’s how it.

“You don’t feel 100 percent, just 80, and you step up and the player turns right instead of left and you read the situation wrong, and [the player is] gone. The whole world tells you, ‘yeah, he’s not the best defender in the world anymore’.

“Dealing with all these things at a pretty young age, Virgil is not that young anymore but he’s still a young human being, it’s not that he’s 60 and saw it all.

“[He’s] super ambitious and wants to reach a lot of things with his club.

“Yes, the captaincy helped, he took the role sensationally well, all of them did. The whole leadership group stepped up.”

The skipper said after the League Cup win that “they thought I was finished,” and oh how wrong ‘they’ were!