Liverpool star’s Virgil van Dijk comments speak volumes as fears linger over future

Liverpool youngster Jarell Quansah has underlined the importance of team-mate Virgil van Dijk – with his long-term future at Anfield in question.

Quansah, 21, has enjoyed a breakout season in the Reds’ first-team and drawn comparisons with Van Dijk thanks to his composure and decisiveness at centre-back. Van Dijk himself has been back to his best this season, his first campaign as club captain after Jordan Henderson left for Saudi Arabia last summer.

But after his manager announced in January that he’ll be leaving Anfield at the end of this term, Dutch defender Van Dijk was asked if he sees himself being a part of the post-Jurgen Klopp era – and admitted that he could leave.

“That’s a big question. I don’t know,” the 32-year-old replied. “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 much about it.”

Those comments struck fear into the hearts of Liverpool fans, and although Van Dijk has since clarified that he’s “fully committed” to the club and not merely playing for Klopp, he hasn’t ruled out an exit, especially with his contract due to expire next summer. Should he leave, Quansah’s comments speak volumes as to how big of a hole he’d leave.

“I think what he has been doing over the past five or 10 years has been unrivalled, especially in the Premier League,” the England under-21 international told Liverpool’s website. “He’s had flawless seasons, he’s been a vital part of what Liverpool’s identity has been. So to play next to him is so good and I can learn so much from him.

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - MARCH 14: Jarell Quansah of Liverpool gives the captain's armband to team-mate Virgil van Dijk as he leaves the field during the UEFA Europa League 2023/24 round of 16 second leg match between Liverpool FC and AC Sparta Praha at Anfield on March 14, 2024 in Liverpool, England. (Photo by Chris Brunskill/Fantasista/Getty Images)
Jarell Quansah is learning from Virgil van Dijk 
Chris Brunskill/Fantasista/Getty Images)

“There’s times where he’s constructive and just says it how it is and tells me what I need to improve on, and there’s times where, especially on the pitch because the crowd’s loud, he needs to shout and make examples in different ways. You can’t go much wrong if you just listen to what he’s saying! He’s always in your ear, always talking, which is so helpful.”

Quansah will be hoping to partner Van Dijk in Sunday’s home game against Brighton. The Reds would briefly go top with a win, and if Manchester City and Arsenal draw later on, Klopp’s men would stay in first place with nine games remaining ahead of the midweek round of fixtures in which Liverpool host struggling Sheffield United.

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