Van Dijk optimistic Adrian can hit the ground running
Virgil van Dijk is confident Adrian can slot straight into the Liverpool side if first-choice goalkeeper Alisson Becker is sidelined for significant time with a calf injury.
Liverpool are anxiously awaiting the results of a scan after Alisson hobbled off in the first half of Friday night’s Premier League opener against Norwich, in which the Reds cruised to a 4-1 victory at Anfield with Van Dijk among the scorers.
Alisson’s injury forced Adrian into a debut appearance just four days after he signed as a free agent, having left West Ham in the summer.
Although he is still settling in to the club, Van Dijk is confident Adrian can make an immediate impact.
“I think he’s at that kind of age, that stage of his life and career that he can come in and slot in to the team pretty easy,” Van Dijk said. “He’s been through so many things in the Premier League he can just slot in pretty easy.”
Jurgen Klopp has already ruled Alisson out of Wednesday’s European Super Cup against Chelsea, but the club are hoping it is not the sort of injury which could sidelined the Brazilian for several weeks.
“He’s very important for us, but I’ve no idea what the actual damage is,” Van Dijk said.
“We’ll see over the next days what the outcome is going to be. We have to deal with it and we’re going to deal with it.”
Liverpool never had to move too hard through the gears on Friday night, with Norwich crumbling defensively after a seventh-minute own goal from captain Grant Hanley.
However, some of the Reds’ defensive concerns from pre-season surfaced as the visitors piled up 12 shots on goal, having the better of the second half as Teemu Pukki pulled a goal back.
Klopp opted to start Joe Gomez alongside Van Dijk ahead of Joel Matip, who forged an impressive partnership with the towering Dutchman last season with Gomez out injured for much of the campaign.
Klopp’s decision brought criticism from some quarters but Van Dijk was pleased to see Gomez playing again after the broken leg he suffered in December.
“I think he did well,” Van Dijk said. “He’s a fantastic player. We have a lot of centre-backs working at the moment, everyone is fit so the manager has to make decisions.
“I’m just happy for him that he’s fit, he’s playing again, he’s playing at a high level and we just keep improving.”
Van Dijk may no longer be the world’s most expensive defender following Manchester United’s £80million deal for Harry Maguire, but many would regard him as the best and he has been tipped to make the shortlist for the Ballon d’Or.
Defenders are rarely seen on the list and the 28-year-old said he would be “honoured” to make the cut, but had little interest in discussing something over which he has no control.
But whether he is the best defender in the world or not, he is certain he can still get better.
“I feel good, I feel fit, I keep improving and there’s still plenty to improve as well,” he said.
“The only thing I want to do is keep working, keep giving everything I can in every game, in training as well and be an example for all the players that are coming through the ranks at Melwood.
“Everyone can get better. That’s definitely the feeling in my case.”
Thank you for reading 5 articles this month* Join now for unlimited access
Enjoy your first month for just £1 / $1 / €1
*Read 5 free articles per month without a subscription
Join now for unlimited access
Try first month for just £1 / $1 / €1
Get FourFourTwo Newsletter
The best features, fun and footballing quizzes, straight to your inbox every week.
FourFourTwo was launched in 1994 on the back of a World Cup that England hadn’t even qualified for. It was an act of madness… but it somehow worked out. Our mission is to offer our intelligent, international audience access to the game’s biggest names, insightful analysis... and a bit of a giggle. We unashamedly love this game and we hope that our coverage reflects that.