SOUVENIR PROGRAMME

TOULOUSE, FRANCE - Thursday, November 9, 2023: Liverpool's Jarell Quansah applauds the supporters after the UEFA Europa League Group E match-day 4 game between Toulouse FC and Liverpool FC at the Stadium de Toulouse. Toulouse won 3-2. (Photo by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Jurgen Klopp sums up huge belief in Jarell Quansah with ‘Virgil 2.0’ nickname

Jurgen Klopp‘s belief in Liverpool youngster Jarell Quansah as he breaks through has been summed up in the nickname he has given the defender – Virgil 2.0.

Quansah has made such big strides since stepping up to the first team this season that, earlier this month, Klopp admitted he had been “surprised” by his potential.

“If you would have asked me pre-season [if] he would be that good I would have been surprised,” he told reporters.

“But since then I saw him every day and I am not surprised any more.

“It’s great to have a boy from our own academy with that potential and quality.”

Publicly, the manager has looked to downplay expectations of the 20-year-old defender, but with nine appearances already this season – and five starts – there is clearly faith in his ability.

That was summed up in a conversation with Sky Sports reporter Vinny O’Connor at the AXA Training Centre on Thursday.

When asked about England U21s’ 3-0 win over Northern Ireland at Goodison Park, which saw Harvey Elliott and Tyler Morton score and Quansah shine at centre-back, Klopp coined a new nickname.

“Jarell…Virgil 2.0, reloaded. Yeah, he’s good,” the manager smiled.

Given Virgil van Dijk is nearing his best, world-class form again this season, that is some praise for the academy graduate.

Quansah has developed rapidly in the past five months, with the victory with England U21s showcasing not only his defensive strength, but also his passing range.

One lofted ball from the back cut through the Northern Ireland defence and laid on a chance that Noni Madueke should have done better with.

There was also a line-breaking run from the halfway line to the edge of the penalty area, ending in a left-footed shot collected by the goalkeeper, which had more than a touch of Joel Matip about it.

These are very promising signs, and it is clear that Klopp has not only called upon his No. 78 due to the failure to sign another centre-back over the summer.

Unlike perhaps Rhys Williams and Nat Phillips, Quansah is no emergency option, with plans in place for him to cement himself as a genuine candidate to start in the future.

Virgil 2.0 is a big tag to live up to, but Quansah has Klopp’s backing to do so.