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Virgil van Dijk insists he wants to be part of ‘big transition’ at Liverpool | Liverpool

Liverpool

  • Club captain happy to stay at club after Jürgen Klopp’s departure
  • “There will be a lot of changes – it’s quite exciting”

Monday 6 May 2024 17.12 CEST

Virgil van Dijk has paid tribute to Jürgen Klopp and said he wants to be part of the “big transition” that will take place at Liverpool after the German’s departure.

Klopp has two games remaining as Liverpool manager – at Aston Villa next Monday and what is sure to be an emotional occasion at Anfield for the visit of Wolves on the final day of the Premier League season. There will no doubt be tears in the stands as Klopp bids farewell after nine-and-a-half hugely successful and transformative years on Merseyside, his departure inevitably leading to speculation about the future of his players.

At the end of next month, Van Dijk will have 12 months left on his current deal and, having been at Liverpool since January 2018, he could be forgiven for feeling the time would be right for him to leave. The club captain hinted as much shortly after Klopp announced in January that he would be leaving at the end of the season, saying the decision raised a “big question” over his time at Anfield. The 32-year-old clarified shortly that he is happy to stay put and reiterated this attitude after Liverpool’s 4-2 victory over Tottenham on Sunday.

“The focus now is on the last two games and then the club will focus on who the new manager is and there will be a big transition and I’m part of that,” Van Dijk said. “I have nothing to discuss (regarding my future) because it is not news. As I said, I’m very happy here, I love the club and you can see that. It’s already a big part of my life.

“There’s going to be a lot of changes, and I wouldn’t say scary is the right word, but it’s pretty interesting and exciting what’s going to happen now. So let’s see.”

Van Dijk became the world’s most expensive defender when Liverpool bought him from Southampton for £75m just over six years ago and went on to become Premier League, European and world champions at the club. No wonder the Netherlands international is full of praise for the man who put his faith in him and oversaw this glory.

“He’s a fantastic manager, a great human being and we have a great relationship,” said Klopp’s Van Dijk. “I’m very proud to have played for him, to have fought for the badge and for him, and I count the success we’ve had over the years.

“It’s going to be emotional on the last day, but sometimes that’s part of life. There’s a lot going on behind the scenes but we focus on match days and that’s our duty, our job and we want to perform for the last six points.”

Feyenoord head coach Arne Slot is expected to take over from Klopp, but one high-profile player in the current squad he may not end up working with is Darwin Núñez. The Uruguay striker has enjoyed a successful season, scoring 18 goals and providing 13 assists in 52 appearances, but has been criticized following a string of poor performances in recent weeks and on Monday appears to have deleted the vast majority of Liverpool-related content from his Instagram account, leading to speculation that he is no longer happy at the club he joined for £85m from Benfica in June 2022.

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