Virgil van Dijk: The relationship we Liverpool centre-backs share is a 'big thing'
- Virgil van Dijk is a key member of Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool
- He has been at Liverpool since 2018
- Liverpool’s first league game this season is against Fulham
Virgil van Dijk has opened up on the bond between Liverpool FC's center-backs, saying "the relationship we all have together is also a very big thing."
While van Dijk was a regular starter for Liverpool last season, Jurgen Klopp had the luxury to pick between Joel Matip, Ibrahima Konate, and Jomez Gomez to partner the Dutch in the centre of the Reds' defense.
Each of the quartet is close-knit friends with the others off the pitch, something that has benefited Liverpool on the field as they won two trophies last season and finished runners in the other two.
"It's quite special to have these boys around and also as partners around, full of quality. Different qualities, each and every one of us, but we complement each other very well. The relationship we all have together is also a very big thing; we really enjoy the hard work and we all want the same goal and that's winning games.
"Whoever is playing, we support each other, in every single competition. That's key to success, so hopefully we can keep that going," Van Dijk, who is currently in Austria with the Liverpool squad for a pre-season game, told Liverpool's media.
Gomez and Van Dijk missed the majority of the 2020-21 season with their respective injuries. Last season, while Van Dijk immediately returned to Klopp's XI, it was not the same case with Gomez, who was also used as a right-back the last term.
While there had been speculations over his future at Liverpool, Gomez signed a new long-term contract with the Reds earlier this month. Gomez discussed it with Van Dijk before making a decision and the Netherlands national was naturally happy to see the English defender pen down a new deal.
"We spoke about it before he signed the deal and I'm just very happy that he's staying at the club, staying with me. Also, I'm happy for the club that he's signed.
"He is, in my opinion, [one of] if not the best English centre-back around. Obviously, we've both been very unlucky with the injuries we had. Obviously, his time will come again and hopefully this season he can show that," added Van Dijk.
Konate is always willing to learn, says Van Dijk
Konate is the newest edition to Liverpool's center-back gang as the French defender arrived at Anfield just last summer. He, however, produced a number of impressive performances in his maiden season as a Red where he made 29 competitive appearances.
"He's a very, very good player. What I like the most about him is his will to learn each and every day as well. Obviously, there are loads of things that can improve – and that's good because he has time, he needs the experience. In my opinion, experience is a big thing for a centre-half to learn and to take with you.
"In his case, I'm very happy to see him develop, I'm very happy to see him shine on and off the pitch, he's a fantastic character. But I can say that about the other two [Gomez and Matip] as well. We are very blessed as a club and I am very blessed to have these players around me as well," explained Van Dijk further.
Van Dijk has been at Liverpool since 2018 when he joined Klopp's side from Southampton. The Dutch center-back has played a major role in Liverpool winning quite a few trophies over the years, including the Premier League and the Champions League.
Liverpool started off their pre-season tour with a 4-0 loss to arch-rivals Manchester United earlier this month in Bangkok. Following that, they secured wins over Crystal Palace and RB Leipzig. The Reds are next scheduled to take on RB Salzburg in a pre-season game on Wednesday (July 27) before their Community Shield match against Premier League champions Manchester City on July 30 at King Power Stadium.
The Anfield side will kickstart its 2022-23 Premier League campaign with a trip to Craven Cottage to lock horns against Fulham, one of the two clubs that recently got promoted to the English top-flight.