Liverpool captain Virgil van Dijk
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Liverpool captaincy has helped Van Dijk find his best level

Jurgen Klopp has said the Liverpool captaincy has helped Virgil van Dijk find his best level again this season, after a relative dip last term.

Van Dijk has been a key figure as Liverpool compete on all fronts this season, with the Dutch defender outstanding in the weekend draw with title rivals Manchester City.

The 32-year-old has not lost an aerial duel in the Premier League since January, showcasing the form which has seen Van Dijk recognised as the division’s best defender in recent campaigns.

 

Van Dijk was appointed as club captain in the summer following the departures of Jordan Henderson and James Milner and lifted his first silverware as skipper after winning the League Cup – scoring the only goal of the final win over Chelsea – last month.

Klopp has praised Van Dijk for his performances this season and believes the responsibility of the armband has elevated his game.

“If just an armband would make us the best version of ourselves, we should all try it again,” Klopp said at a pre-match press conference ahead of facing Sparta Prague in the Europa League.

” A big step again. The level he has played for so many years for us. It was never a real problem.

 

“If you play on the level the boys play, little problems can lead to a big difference in performance. He is super ambitious and wants to reach a lot of things with the club. Yes, the captaincy helped Virgil.

“He took to the role exceptionally well. The whole leadership group I think stepped up. They all made some big steps. That was always the plan when you lost the leaders out of the team in the last few years. It has worked out for us really. It’s exactly what I hoped it would be.”

Read – Klopp confirms Salah fit to start for Liverpool

See more – Klopp insists Edwards has not tried to persuade Liverpool U-turn

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