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Klopp had faith in Van Dijk 'long before he signed'

10:16 AM GMT+8 02/12/2018
Virgil Van Dijk Liverpool Watford
The defender's impressive Liverpool performances have come as no surprise to the club's manager, who admired him before he joined the club

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp lauded the impact of Virgil van Dijk since the defender's arrival at Anfield.

Van Dijk, 27, is sure to have a key role to play once more when Liverpool host Everton in the Merseyside derby on Sunday.

The Netherlands international has led a much-improved Liverpool defence since joining from Southampton in January.

Klopp said he always knew Van Dijk would have a massive impact on arrival at the Premier League giants.

"From the first second, he was brilliant," he told reporters.

"I knew long before he signed the contract that Virgil would be outstanding as a player. His mix of both playing ability and leadership quality makes him outstanding."

Liverpool go into the derby on the back of a 2-1 loss to Paris Saint-Germain in the Champions League on Wednesday.

Klopp has decisions to make, particularly in midfield, with captain Jordan Henderson suspended and his side's lack of creativity in that area of the park criticised.

Ahead of the first of eight matches in December, Klopp also hopes Liverpool have some luck.

"If we stay fit and we can choose to rest players that would be great. If not, we will struggle a little bit," he said.

"December, January, you need to be a little bit lucky with injuries. That's how it is. Then you can build on it in February and so on.

"You always have a few problems but that doesn't mean anything. It would just be cool if we came through with the right results and a fully fit squad."

Liverpool can close the gap to Premier League leaders Manchester City back to two points with a derby win.