Virgil van Dijk has cast doubt over his Liverpool future by admitting he is unsure whether he will be part of the post-Jürgen Klopp era and is “very curious” about how the club replace their legendary manager.
The announcement on Friday that Klopp will be leaving at the end of the season has left many, including the Liverpool captain, in a state of shock as they try to come to terms with the news.
The team’s manager’s choice sparked worries about the team’s potential to win the title. Saudi Pro League clubs are likely to make another attempt to acquire Mohamed Salah this summer, while Van Dijk, who will be 33 in July, only has 18 months left on his contract.
Van Dijk has acknowledged the validity of these concerns. The exceptional defender acknowledges that Liverpool’s owners, Fenway Sports Group, face a daunting challenge in finding a replacement for Klopp. He also admits that their final decision will impact his own future. When asked if he envisions himself being a part of the future of Liverpool, he replied, “That’s a significant question. Honestly, I’m not sure.”
The Dutch team’s leader clarified the situation when it was mentioned to him that a decision would need to be made soon due to his contract having only 18 months remaining. Van Dijk responded by acknowledging the validity of this timeline and stated that he is unsure about what will happen. He also noted that the club will have a difficult task ahead as they will not only need to find a new manager, but also replace the departing staff and navigate through the many changes that lie ahead.
“The club is facing a significant task, and I am eager to see which direction it will take. However, we will have to wait for the announcement to assess our situation.”
Xabi Alonso, the ex-Liverpool player currently serving as head coach for Bayer Leverkusen, is the top candidate to replace Klopp. Van Dijk stated that he does not want to continue discussing Klopp’s decision, as Liverpool is focused on winning four trophies. He added that they will address the matter at the end of the season. However, the Liverpool captain acknowledged that FSG’s decision on who will take over for Klopp will impact the players’ future.
“Obviously it will be the end of Jürgen Klopp’s era. I am very glad that I am still part of it,” Van Dijk said. “That is why I don’t like to speak about it. I am still part of it. That is my main focus now and we will see at the end of the season hopefully we have the success that we all dream of and fight for each and every day. By then there will probably be more clarification about what the club wants for the future and then we will see.”
Liverpool remained focused on the field despite the news about Klopp and secured a 5-2 victory against Norwich at Anfield on Sunday, advancing to the fifth round of the FA Cup. Van Dijk stated that it was a promising start.
The speaker stated that there have been no significant changes. However, he acknowledged that there may be changes in the future and they must continue to do what they have been doing. It may be challenging, but he believes the rest of the team shares the same mindset. It is his responsibility to maintain this mentality. He also mentioned that their game against Norwich was a positive experience.
According to Van Dijk, it is reasonable to question Liverpool’s motivation after Klopp’s announcement, but he maintains that there has been no decline in the team’s training standards. He does not view it as a disrespect to their professionalism.
As human beings, we all experience emotions. Some players may have different reactions to the manager’s announcement compared to others. This is normal because everyone has their own thought processes. However, I did not observe a decrease in professionalism or a decline in the expected level of performance.
“The recent training sessions I have observed have been similar to previous ones. However, for the manager, the session may have had a different significance. Our goal was to secure a spot in the next round, especially with some players returning from injuries. Now, our focus shifts to Wednesday’s match against Chelsea at Anfield in the Premier League.”