MATCHDAY PROGRAMME

“I would say you are lying!” – Virgil van Dijk amazed by progress of Liverpool youngster

Virgil van Dijk has hailed the development of fellow defender Jarell Quansah this season, describing the youngster as a “very good option” in the wake of Joel Matip‘s injury.

Quansah has enjoyed something of a breakthrough season at Anfield under Jurgen Klopp so far in 2023/24, registering 10 senior appearances in all competitions after impressing during the pre-season tours of Singapore and Germany.

The 20-year-old is now likely to move up the pecking order after it was confirmed that Matip had sustained a tear to his ACL, sparking fears that he may have played his last game for the club given that his contract expires this summer.

Van Dijk has no concerns that Quansah will be able to shoulder the additional responsibility set to come his way, describing the youngster’s future in the game as “bright.”

“Every time he has had the opportunity so far he has done well,” said Van Dijk after the Reds emerged 2-0 winners at Bramall Lane.

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Thursday, October 5, 2023: Liverpool's Jarell Quansah during the UEFA Europa League Group E matchday 2 game between Liverpool FC and Union SG at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

“When the moment is there for him, like every other player who will come in when we rotate or have injuries or suspensions, they have to be ready.

“That goes for him as well. We still have Ibou, Joey, but Jarell is a very good option as well. In general, for all the younger generation, if you are close to the first team and training with us, you have to soak everything in. And he is doing well.

“He’s a good boy. It’s good to see. He wants to learn and he is learning. Like every one of us.

“If you told me at the start of the season that he would be doing as well as he is doing, I would say you are lying.

“He is progressing, learning and wants to do it as well. When he keeps doing that, we will see what the future brings for him but it looks quite bright.”

Liverpool’s skipper admitted he was devastated to learn that the side will be without Matip for the foreseeable future, with this season likely to be his eighth and final on Merseyside.

Quansah has proved he is more than capable of filling in when required and Klopp demonstrated his faith in the youngster by handing him a Premier League start against Wolves back in September.

The Reds are no strangers to defensive injuries, but the latest setback could provide a significant window of opportunity for Quansah to try and grasp with both hands.