Virgil van Dijk backs Adrian to slot seamlessly into Liverpool side after Alisson injury blow

11 August 2019

Virgil van Dijk has no qualms over Adrian stepping into Alisson’s shoes during the Brazilian’s expected injury layoff, as his experience will hold him in good stead.


Alisson was the next Liverpool goalkeeper off the rank to fall victim to an injury, following in the footsteps of a host of the Reds’ young stoppers this summer.

The 26-year-old was forced from the field late in the first-half against Norwich with what is said to be a calf injury which is likely to see him miss a maximum of six weeks of action.

His withdrawal ensured Adrian made an unexpected early debut at Anfield, and he will now take up the mantle between the sticks for the foreseeable future.

Since Alisson’s arrival at Anfield, Van Dijk has not featured in a starting line-up without the Brazilian occupying the goal.

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Friday, August 9, 2019: Liverpool's goalkeeper Alisson Becker goes off injured during the opening FA Premier League match of the season between Liverpool FC and Norwich City FC at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

But, the Dutchman is confident the ex-West Ham keeper will slot into the position, starting against Chelsea in the UEFA Super Cup on Wednesday, with little trouble such is his vast experience.

Alisson is a very important player for us and we don’t know what the damage is yet but we do know we’ll have to deal with it,” Van Dijk said.

“I didn’t get the chance to say very much to Adrián except ‘good luck’ when he came on. But he’s an experienced goalkeeper at that stage in his career where he can probably slot into a new team quite easily.

“He’s been through a few situations in his time. I’m sure he’ll be fine if he just does his normal thing.”

With Adrian moving up take a starting place, Jurgen Klopp has been left short on alternative options with last season’s third-choice ‘keeper Caoimhin Kelleher still working his way back to fitness following a minor hand injury.

It is likely to see the Reds dip into the free-agent market to find a short-term solution, with Andy Lonergan currently the frontrunner after linking up with the team during the tour of the United States.

LONDON, ENGLAND - Saturday, September 15, 2018: Liverpool's Virgil van Dijk and Joe Gomez celebrate after the FA Premier League match between Tottenham Hotspur FC and Liverpool FC at Wembley Stadium. Liverpool won 2-1. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

But while there’s early concern between the sticks, there is no such issue at the heart of defence as there is healthy competition for the position alongside Van Dijk.

The return of Premier League action saw the Dutchman rekindle his partnership with Joe Gomez after the England international was limited to just one start in Europe and numerous cameo appearances last season after fracturing his leg in December.

Many will have viewed the decision to be harsh on Joel Matip, who played a vital role in Liverpool’s Champions League success and title challenge last term, but it was the strongest indication yet of how Klopp views his ideal back-line combination.

And while Van Dijk was eager to praise all his fellow centre-backs, Gomez’s return and subsequent influence over proceedings was a welcome sight:

“Joe did well in his first game back. He’s a fantastic player. We have a lot of centre-backs to choose from at the moment and they are all fit, so it’s up to the manager to make a decision each week.

“I’m just happy to see Joe fit again after such a long period out and back to playing at a high level.”

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