Jurgen Klopp claims Virgil van Dijk is ‘definitely’ back to his best after outstanding defensive performance in Liverpool’s win against Burnley
- Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp has heaped praise on defender Virgil van Dijk
- Stand-in skipper van Dijk played brilliantly in the Reds’ 1-0 win against Burnley
- Klopp says his fine form can help them through the ‘decisive’ part of the season
- Meanwhile Clarets boss Sean Dyche is not flustered about their relegation battle
Jurgen Klopp hailed Virgil van Dijk’s outstanding performance and insisted his form augurs well for Liverpool’s pursuit of silverware.
Liverpool kept the pressure on Manchester City by chiselling out a 1-0 win – secured by a close range strike from Fabinho late in the first half – in filthy conditions Klopp described as ‘ridiculous’; it was not a day that saw his forwards shine.
The same could not be said about van Dijk, however, who ensured Liverpool never lost focus and Klopp believes the authority he exuded augurs well ahead of a sequence of big games which begins on Wednesday against Inter Milan.
Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp has heaped praise on Reds defender Virgil van Dijk (pictured)
Asked if van Dijk was back to his best, Klopp said: ‘Definitely, you can see in all movements. We were always convinced it would happen. No-one knows the reason how it heals – is it timing? – but he is completely back on track.
‘I would say that is good timing for the decisive part of the season which is coming up now. And long may it continue.’
Klopp was thrilled to see his team show a different side to their character. He expected Burnley to make nuisances of themselves but the wild nature of the afternoon meant there was never a point when Liverpool were totally in control.
The German claimed the centre half is back to his best after helping his side beat Burnley 1-0
‘I’m absolutely delighted with the way we played the circumstances, it was so tricky,’ said Klopp. ‘Only when you stood on the pitch could you feel the extent of the cold, on the pitch it was ridiculous.
‘The boys stuck with it and over the years have learned to deal with the circumstances. We asked ourselves to use it instead of suffering from it. A really difficult game, yes.
‘Burnley had their moments but I think it felt they had more moments than they actually had because of the late offside flag when Alisson made saves he didn’t need to. That is the way it is.’
Clarets boss Sean Dyche (left) is not flustered about his side’s relegation battle despite the loss
Burnley are now seven points from safety and their wretched home form, combined with their lack of goals, means it is long odds-on they will slip out of the division but Sean Dyche is not flustered about the situation facing his squad.
‘It’s irrelevant,’ Dyche said of the gap between Burnley and 17th-placed Newcastle. ‘We have to keep building on what we do and have to add the details.
‘Once again, we’ve played a very good side, created chances and not taken them. That’s the next step. It has to come and has to come quickly but, equally, there has to be something to build on and I believe there is.’