International Soccer

Emotional Virgil van Dijk dreading final farewell to Jurgen Klopp

Liverpool centre-back Virgil van Dijk has admitted he is dreading saying goodbye to manager Jurgen Klopp once and for all at the end of the season.

Klopp, who brought Van Dijk to Anfield in January 2018, will step down from his position at the end of the season, bringing an end to an illustrious period in which Liverpool have re-established themselves as heavyweights of the European game.

The announcement of his departure left fans incredibly emotional and that sentiment will only grow when the moment eventually arrives, and Van Dijk confessed to Voetbal International that he is not looking forward to bidding farewell to Klopp.

“I am quite an emotional person and I always find it very difficult to say goodbye to someone,” he explained. “That will certainly be the case now.

“It’s not just the manager who goes, it’s more people. Pepijn [Lijnders], an important person in the staff…and I could go on and on. Saying goodbye is not something I am looking forward to, but we can make it very nice by winning prizes together.

“That’s the way life is. You see each other at the club almost daily and even more often than your own wife and children. You experience highlights together, but also difficult moments. That creates a bond that is very close, especially at a club like Liverpool, one big family.

“And then after a few years it’s suddenly over. I hope, but am actually quite sure, that the club manages to preserve that unique atmosphere of mutual connection for the future.”

Jurgen Klopp, Virgil van Dijk

Van Dijk believes Liverpool will stay on top after Klopp’s exit / Richard Sellers/Allstar/GettyImages

Klopp’s farewell tour coincides with Van Dijk’s determination to prove himself as one of Europe’s best defenders after a 2022/23 campaign which ended in disappointment for both Liverpool and the Netherlands.

“Last year didn’t go well and I’m one of the contributing players at Liverpool and the Netherlands,” he said. “I realise that, I’m proud of that.

“I played very good games last year, but also duels in which I was much less, which were not up to the standard I set myself.

“Then you have to deal with the criticism and I admit that, like every human being, I am not always immune to that. I understand very well that criticism is part of the job and that’s fine. But sometimes you can handle it better than other times.

“One thing I really do have as a goal is to get everything out of it that’s in me. We’ll see what the next few years bring.

“Physically and mentally, I feel strong and good. I just want to win everything. We’re looking good with Liverpool at the moment and we can still take nice prizes like the championship and the Europa League.

“I want to receive those as captain of this wonderful club and if everything goes along and falls right, I may also hold up a trophy once as captain of the Dutch national team.”

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