The decision to give Virgil van Dijk the captain’s armband for the 4-0 win over Red Star Belgrade was made by the Liverpool squad, Jurgen Klopp has explained.
Van Dijk made his first start as captain for the Reds in the midweek Champions League victory, with Jordan Henderson injured and James Milner named on the bench.
For many supporters, this was vindication for the Dutchman’s influence on the side, both in terms of his quality and his leadership.
It served as a departure from Klopp’s usual routine of simply naming the longest-serving player as stand-in captain if neither of his appointed leaders feature.
But speaking ahead of Saturday’s clash with Cardiff City, in which Van Dijk could again lead the side out, Klopp explained that it came due to a squad vote.
The manager even joked that, if it were down to him, the rivalry between Germany and the Netherlands would have swayed his decision.
“It was not my decision. I decided Hendo and Milly will stay [as captain and vice-captain], that’s 100 percent the logical thing to do,” he said.
“It would have been like that if we voted. [For the] next two, the players can vote.
“Now we have, as we say in Germany, ‘the salad’, because now two Dutch guys are in a row.
“The team decided No. 3 for Virgil and No. 4 for Gini Wijnaldum.
“If somebody told me that would happen in my life, as a German with two Dutch guys in such an important role?! No, that’s the players’ decision.”
Not many would bet against Van Dijk being the permanent club captain in the future.