Sunday 18 March 2018

'I'm sure Jamie needs to lose a little bit of weight' - Jurgen Klopp hits back at Carragher's criticism of Van Dijk

Jurgen Klopp and (inset) Jamie Carragher
Jurgen Klopp and (inset) Jamie Carragher

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp has firmly rejected the comments of club legend Jamie Carragher, after he suggested defender Virgil van Dijk needed to "get fitter" following his club record £75m move to Anfield.

Van Dijk was left out of the Liverpool team for their mid-week win at Huddersfield, with Klopp suggesting the Dutch centre-back needed time to adjust to a new philosophy and improve his physical conditioning following his arrival from Southampton last month.

Klopp insisted he was comfortable with Van Dijk's transition to his set-up and when Carragher's suggestion that the defender needed to work on his fitness was presented to the Liverpool boss.

"Wow, I'm sure Jamie needs to lose a little bit of weight," said Klopp. "For Virgil this is not the case. He is a big and a tall lad. We have the best nutrition department and no one came to me and said it was a problem. Ot is not an issue, not at all."

Carragher made his comments to Sky Sports on Thursday night, as he suggested the Dutch defender will need time to settle at Liverpool.

"I think it will prove to be a great signing, but he hasn't hit the ground running," he stated. "I think he needs to get fit and lose a bit of weight. He actually looks too big. Maybe that's to do with not having a pre-season."

Klopp went on to offer his thoughts on Van Dijk's early progress at Liverpool, as he suggested he could return to his side for Sunday's game against Tottenham at Anfield.

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"I am very happy with Virgil's progress. We will all see Van Dijk at his best after the summer, but he can bring a lot of things already. He has to get used to this style of play. Everton, outstanding, Swansea, good, West Brom, bad game for whole team.

"It was a physical thing (why he didn't play at Huddersfield). When Virgil came here, he was not match fit. We had two completely fit players (Dejan Lovren and Joel Matip) and that's why they played and Virgil didn't. I spoke to him about it and he was fine. He is a new player here, he understands."

Klopp hinted he may be preparing to rotate his team once again for the visit of Spurs, as he went on to defend his club's decision in the January transfer window after they emerged in profit following the sale of Philippe Coutinho to Barcelona.

"We did what we thought was right," he added. "Would I have preferred to keep Philippe Coutinho? Of course, but I thought it was sensible to do it."

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