Advertisement

Virgil van Dijk unsure if he will be part of post-Jürgen Klopp era at Liverpool

<span>Photograph: Peter Byrne/PA</span>
Photograph: Peter Byrne/PA

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 Liverpool captain, along with most people connected with the club, is still processing the shock announcement on Friday that Klopp will leave at the end of the season.

Related: Klopp admits he had ‘to pull myself together’ during Norwich Cup win

The manager’s decision raised immediate concerns over the future of his title-chasing team, with Saudi Pro League clubs expected to try again for Mohamed Salah this summer and Van Dijk, who turns 33 in July, having only 18 months remaining on his contract.

Van Dijk has now given credence to those concerns. The outstanding defender appreciates Liverpool’s owners, Fenway Sports Group, have a monumental task to replace Klopp but admits their eventual decision will have a bearing on his own future. Asked whether he saw himself being part of the next Liverpool era, he said: “That’s a big question. Well, I don’t know.”

The Netherlands captain elaborated when it was put to him that, with 18 months left on his deal, a decision will be needed soon. Van Dijk replied: “That is correct – good maths. Listen, I don’t know. The club will have a big job on their hands, that is well known. To replace the manager and replace not only the manager, the staff is leaving, and there are so many things that will change.

“So the club has a big job on its hands and I am very curious which direction that will go in. But when that will be announced we will see our situation, I can’t say now.”

Xabi Alonso, the former Liverpool midfielder who is now head coach with Bayer Leverkusen, is the frontrunner to succeed Klopp. Van Dijk insisted he does not “want to keep talking about” the German’s decision with Liverpool attempting to focus on winning four trophies, saying: “We will speak about it at the end of the season.” But the Liverpool captain admitted FSG’s choice of successor to Klopp will influence players’ futures.

“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 showed no sign of being distracted on the pitch in their first game following the Klopp news, beating Norwich 5-2 at Anfield on Sunday to progress to the fifth round of the FA Cup. Van Dijk said it was a positive first step.

“Nothing has really changed,” he said. “Obviously things will change at the end of the season and in the new season but at the moment it doesn’t and we have to keep doing the same things. It’s easier said than done but I sense the rest of the boys think like that as well and it is the job for me to ensure we keep it that way. Norwich was a good day.”

Van Dijk believes it is understandable that questions will be asked about Liverpool’s motivation in light of Klopp’s announcement but insists there has been no drop-off in standards in training. “I don’t think it could be an insult to your professionalism,” he said.

“We are all human beings and we have emotions – some players feel different about the manager’s announcement than others. That’s absolutely normal because everyone thinks in different ways, but I didn’t notice the professionalism being dropped or the level of standard.

“The training sessions I have seen in the last couple of days were not different than before and I think against Norwich as well, for the boss it was a bit different, but for us it was to make sure we got to the next round with some players coming back from injury and now we focus on Wednesday [when Chelsea visit Anfield in the Premier League].”