Champions League

Van Dijk hails 'complete manager' Klopp

Virgil van Dijk and Jurgen Klopp (Gallo Images)
Virgil van Dijk and Jurgen Klopp (Gallo Images)

Cape Town - Liverpool centre-back Virgil van Dijk has lauded the work ethic and talent of manager Jurgen Klopp as the club closes in on the UEFA Champions League semi-finals.

Van Dijk has only been at the Merseyside club since January, but already speaks highly of Klopp's managerial skills, calling the German tactician a fantastic manager.

"He is the complete manager," Van Dijk told the press, according to FourFourTwo.

"He is a fantastic team manager, player manager as well, everyone is working hard together.

"Obviously that [Klopp's rapport with the crowd] stays more in people's minds because that is what you see, but he is much more than that.

"You don't see all the hard work we put in behind the scenes. He has shown already that he is an outstanding manager."

Liverpool thrashed Premier League leaders Manchester City 3-0 at Anfield in the first-leg of their quarter-final tie last week.

The victory puts the Reds in a commanding position to progress on Tuesday night when they visit the Etihad Stadium.

However, according the Dutch defender, Liverpool will need to replicate their defensive performance that was shown in the first-leg.

"If we defend the way we did the other night against them, it does not matter who plays as a striker," Van Dijk said.

"If our players up front and midfield do what they did then it makes it a lot easier. Obviously, they have a lot of quality no matter who plays, and we need to be ready for anyone.

"But our guys work. The guys up front put the work in which is magnificent. If you look closely at what those three [Salah, Roberto Firmino and Sadio Mane] do collectively and then the guys behind, it makes it so much easier for us, everyone putting in the work, and then on the training field with the manager.

"Everyone around us is fantastic and should be proud of how we defend and how many goals we have scored."

Kick-off is at 20:45.

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