Virgil Van Dijk Says Liverpool Boss Jurgen Klopp 'Makes You Feel Great'

Christopher Simpson@@CJSimpsonBRFeatured ColumnistJanuary 20, 2019

Liverpool manager Juergen Klopp reacts during the English Premier League soccer match between Liverpool and Crystal Palace at Anfield in Liverpool, England, Saturday, Jan. 19, 2019. (AP Photo/Rui Vieira)
Rui Vieira/Associated Press

Liverpool defender Virgil van Dijk has opened up about boss Jurgen Klopp's man-management skills and says his positivity has helped get the best out of the Reds. 

Van Dijk signed for Liverpool in January last year for a £75 million fee, but the coach was quick to ease the pressure on him despite his price tag.

The Dutchman told the Mirror's Simon Mullock:

"I remember talking to the manager about the transfer fee ­Liverpool paid for me and he just said, 'Listen, all good things cost a lot of money.'

"I thought it was a great thing to come out with, and it shows why Jurgen Klopp was one of the main reasons I came to this club.

"I remember meeting the boss for the first time. We had a really good talk and he just gave me the right confidence."

The German's management of Van Dijk has been pitch-perfect so far.

Rather than buckle under the weight of expectation brought on by his transfer fee, Van Dijk has had a transformative effect on the Reds' defensive prospects over the past 12 months.

Liverpool have shipped just 13 goals this season, whereas at this stage in the last campaign they'd conceded 28.

Football writer Karl Matchett relayed further insight into Van Dijk's impact from Liverpool statistician Ged Rea:

Van Dijk elaborated on Klopp's management of the team:

"There is something about Klopp that makes him stand out. It’s not just his energy, I think it’s his ­man-management.

"Klopp makes you feel great. He is genuinely pleased to see you in the morning and that has a big effect on the players who come in.

"Just look at the hugs he gives us all at the end of games. It is only a bit of affection, something very small, but it makes you feel great."

The defender is far from the only Liverpool star to benefit from Klopp's personable demeanour.

Though it's taken time for him to shape the side into the title challengers they are today, Liverpool have enjoyed a remarkable record under him, per football writer Melissa Reddy, who noted Liverpool "continue their record of never having lost back-to-back league games under [Klopp]."

Van Dijk added that the coach can be strict with the players and isn't afraid to call out their mistakes in front of their team-mates, but he concluded: "Klopp has shown in so many ­moments that he cares about us—and that's why he is able to demand so much from us all."

Klopp isn't just a motivator—he has overhauled the Reds tactically during his time at the club to transform them into an intense pressing outfit who can carve open teams at the back—but he has shown the impact a positive approach can have on his charges.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's brief stint as Manchester United's interim boss has been a testament to that too, following on from the negative atmosphere that surrounded the club under Jose Mourinho.

Klopp's players are fully committed to the cause, and as a result they'll be hard to unseat in the Premier League's title race this season.

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