Jurgen Klopp says Virgil Van Dijk may find derby injury 'difficult to forget'

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Virgil van Dijk and Jordan Pickford (Getty Images)
Virgil van Dijk and Jordan Pickford (Getty Images)

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp admits it may be difficult for Virgil Van Dijk to forget what happened to him on his last visit to Goodison Park for a Merseyside derby.

Just over 13 months ago, the Holland captain lasted just 11 minutes before an unpunished reckless challenge by Everton goalkeeper Jordan Pickford ruptured the anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee and prematurely ended his season in mid-October.

The Dutchman returned to full fitness in time to start this season, and while he may not be back to his imperious best, Klopp does not feel that form is too far away.

But as the centre-back prepares to re-enter the white-hot atmosphere of a derby on enemy territory again, Klopp accepts it is only natural for the player to have some flashbacks.

"We are human beings, so it is probably difficult to forget and ignore something like that of course, but the situation was a situation that can always happen in football," said the Liverpool manager.

"It is a situation which should not happen in football. It doesn't happen very often; I can't remember since then it happening in one game.

"It is unlucky when a player gets injured like that. It should have been dealt with differently, but that's not important anymore.

"But Virgil is very experienced, and he has now these kinds of situations constantly since he was back where he has always dealt with all these kinds of things, where he has to be completely free of all things, he could have in his mind because of one issue in the past.

"So yeah, it might be more different because it is the same place, but apart from that, it is just a football game."

The focus is all on the other side of Stanley Park, where former Liverpool boss Rafael Benitez heads into his first derby as Everton manager on the back of seven matches without a win.

Klopp, however, is keen to portray the game as just another fixture.

"There are special things around derbies, but first and foremost, it is a football game," he added.

"We know what our supporters want, and we try to fulfil their dreams and wishes.

"Derby games are more in focus, but from our point, it is a football game which we have to approach like a normal one.

"There are three points at stake, and we will try to get them. It is nothing to do with the special situation of their coach.

"The other thing (on unhappy fans) is nothing new in football.

"I watched the Brentford v Everton game but switched off at the final whistle, so not exactly sure what happened, but these things happen when you don't exactly have the right results."

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