Virgil van Dijk praises "under-appreciated" Jordan Henderson and says Liverpool players value him highly
A 2-0 triumph in Austria booked Liverpool's place in the knockout phase of the Champions League, which they are looking to win for the second season in a row.
Henderson excelled at the base of midfield at the Red Bull Arena, having replaced the injured Fabinho in that role towards the end of November.
And Van Dijk insists the Liverpool squad rates Henderson highly, even if his contributions sometimes go under the radar outside the club.
“Jordan is such an important player for this team,” the Dutchman told The Athletic. “The contribution he makes goes unnoticed sometimes. I don’t know if he’s under-appreciated outside the club, but inside the club I know how highly we all think of him. He’s our captain and he always leads by example.
“He created the second goal [against Salzburg] with a great pass and always works so hard for the team. We all appreciate what he does for Liverpool, both on and off the pitch. He’s a leader.”
Liverpool are also going strong in the Premier League and currently hold an eight-point lead over second-placed Leicester.
And despite coming under pressure in the first half against Red Bull Salzburg, Jurgen Klopp's side showed their class after the interval.
“It was what we expected - very intense, up and down, we had opportunities and they had moments of danger that we had to deal with.
“When the game settled, we started to take control and we should have made life easier for ourselves by taking our chances before the goals came in the second half. We showed a lot of maturity with that performance.”
Liverpool will temporarily move 11 points clear at the top of the Premier League table if they beat Watford in Saturday's early kick-off.