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Virgil van Dijk committed to Liverpool and ‘excited’ for transition after Jurgen Klopp exit

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Football

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Liverpool captain Virgil van Dijk insists he will be “part of” the huge transition which will take place when Jurgen Klopp leaves later this month.

The Netherlands international has just a year left on his contract and there will inevitably be a large amount of turmoil following the end of Klopp’s almost nine-year reign.

But Van Dijk insists he is happy at the club as they move into the new era which will be under his compatriot Arne Slot, the Feyenoord head coach with whom Liverpool have agreed a deal as well as compensation with the Eredivisie side.

“The focus is now on the last two games and then the club will focus on who the new manager is and there will be a big transition and I am part of that,” said the Dutchman after the 4-2 win over Tottenham.

“There is nothing for me to discuss because there is no news, I think the club is very much busy with who is going to be the new manager and that is the main focus.

“Like I said I am very happy here, I love the club and you can see that as well. It’s a big part of my life already, and that is all I can say.”

Virgil van Dijk has hailed the departing Jurgen Klopp as ‘the whole package’ (PA)

Although an agreement with Feyenoord was reached over a week ago, Liverpool are in no rush to make an announcement about the appointment as the emotion surrounding Klopp’s departure builds towards a final-day goodbye at home to Wolves.

After a thorough search Slot’s way of playing was identified as being the best fit for the current squad and once former sporting director Michael Edwards’ return was confirmed as chief executive of football, things moved on apace.

Van Dijk said: “We know other things are decided and Michael Edwards is coming back, Richard Hughes will be the sporting director, they are the only decisions that have been made.

“Other than that we will just wait and see but I have got full trust in the club to make that right decision (on the manager).

“There will be a lot of changes happening and I wouldn’t say scary is the right word but it is quite interesting and exciting what will happen now. So let’s see.”

Klopp’s farewell after almost nine years has just two matches remaining and his departure will be tough to take, made all the more difficult by the way their quest for a second title under his leadership disappointingly fizzled out in April to finish the season with only the Carabao Cup.

Liverpool beat Tottenham to preserve their faint title hopes (REUTERS)

“He is quite a manager, very impressive in my opinion, he is the whole package. He is a fantastic manager, a great human being and we have a great relationship,” said Van Dijk.

“I am really proud I played for him, fought for the badge and him and count the success we had over the years as well.

“It will be emotional on the last day but it is a part of life sometimes. Many things are happening behind the scenes but we focus on match days and that is our duty, our job and we want to perform for the last six points.”

Their form has returned, unfortunately, too late, with Mohamed Salah in particular looking his sharpest for several months against Spurs.

He scored the opening goal and had a hand in two others for Andy Robertson and Harvey Elliott, with Cody Gakpo also scoring, as Liverpool raced into a 4-0 lead inside an hour only for shoddy defending to allow Richarlison and Son Heung-min to pull back two goals the visitors barely deserved.

PA

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