Jurgen Klopp hints he could REST Virgil van Dijk more this season as the Dutchman works his way back to full fitness with the Liverpool boss aiming to ‘mix up’ his centre back options with Joe Gomez and Ibrahima Konate yet to start
- Virgil van Dijk played his first game at Anfield in 317 days in win over Burnley
- Van Dijk missed most of last season after suffering severe knee injury in October
- The Liverpool defender stood strong against physical Clarets attack in 2-0 win
- But Jurgen Klopp is wary of overplaying his centre-backs due to injury issues
- Reds boss will be looking to make use of his vast defensive options this season
Jurgen Klopp has said he’ll need to take Virgil van Dijk out of the firing line at some stage after the Dutchman took another impressive step in his comeback by passing the Burnley test at Anfield.
Van Dijk helped repel the threat of physical Clarets strikers Chris Wood and Ashley Barnes as Liverpool kept a clean sheet in his first game at Liverpool’s home for 317 days following a cruciate injury.
Incredibly, the centre-half hasn’t lost any of the 48 Premier League games he has played for Liverpool at Anfield but Klopp says last season’s injury crisis has persuaded him to rotate his talisman as well as Joe Gomez and Joel Matip who also missed large parts of last season.
Virgil van Dijk was playing his first match for Liverpool at Anfield in 10 months following injury
The Dutch defender was at his best as he helped the Reds to a 2-0 victory over Burnley
‘It’s cool having Virgil back,’ said Klopp. ‘There were times when he was on the edge because of the intensity of the game. It was a proper test with the strikers always in your body.
‘We now have six centre-halves with Rhys Williams and Nat Phillips and we needed that.
‘They will all play because the first four (Liverpool have also signed Ibrahima Konate) we have to mix it up.
‘After a long injury you should not play three games a week, all that stuff. But I didn’t have a chance to change for Burnley because they have a specific threat and I needed defenders who are used to playing together.’
But Jurgen Klopp admits he will be more open to resting his star centre-back this season
Klopp applauds the Liverpool fans after the game as the Reds continued their strong start
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