Virgil van Dijk loves “different vibe” at Liverpool with new-look midfield

Virgil van Dijk has remained a key fixture of Jurgen Klopp‘s Liverpool, despite the team’s regeneration.

Jordan Henderson, Gini Wijnaldum, James Milner and Fabinho were all previous players in front of Van Dijk. It may be doing them a disservice but Liverpool’s new crop of midfielders arguably have a higher ceiling.

While they aren’t quite as effective as their predecessors yet, Van Dijk says the incomers have been “outstanding” and he is enjoying the “different vibe” around the team.

Speaking to TNT Sports after Liverpool beat Everton 2-0, the captain attributed some of the Reds’ good early-season form to their pre-season.

“We had a short break and then we came back,” Van Dijk, who admitted to feeling “drained” and “frustrated” after last season, explained.

“Pre-season was very good, we started in Germany, proper training camp, then the commercial tour and it worked pretty well. I’m glad it worked like it did.

“We definitely sense a different vibe, different energy in the club.

“There has been a transition, of course, but also in the way we play. We have different players, with different qualities. We try to adapt a little in football. I think it’s working quite well.”

Liverpool won’t become imperious overnight, and plenty of the players are still inexperienced – none of Dominik Szoboszlai, Alexis Mac Allister or Ryan Gravenberch had played a Merseyside derby before Saturday afternoon.

The relative inexperience hasn’t hindered Liverpool too much so far, and Van Dijk’s outlook is positive on the summer signings.

“The guys coming in have been outstanding in my opinion,” the Dutchman added.

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Saturday, October 21, 2023: Everton's Dominic Calvert-Lewin (L) challenges for a header with Liverpool's captain Virgil van Dijk during the FA Premier League match between Liverpool FC and Everton FC, the 243rd Merseyside Derby, at Anfield. (Photo by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

“Mac Allister, maybe in a position I’m not sure he really, really wants to play, but he has the quality to play anywhere in the midfield. The yards he’s going each and every game is great.

“Szoboszlai is a different breed. His energy, he keeps running, he wants the ball at all times, he counter-pressess, that’s what we want.

Curtis Jones is doing very well too, Ryan started his first derby. It’s something to be excited about as a Liverpool fan. Long may it continue, but I think the key is finding consistency.”

Van Dijk himself has had a return to form, too, with some questioning his abilities last season. Next up for Liverpool is Toulouse at Anfield on Thursday night.