New captain Virgil van Dijk has revealed he spoke a lot with Jurgen Klopp about the club’s transition to ‘Liverpool 2.0’ .
The Reds summer turnover has been well-documented.
Liverpool had anticipated a higher than usual personnel change, after a turgid season in 2022/23, while several players also reached the end of their contracts.
However, a planned midfield makeover turned into a complete rebuild as Jordan Henderson and Fabinho made unexpected departures to the Saudi Pro League.
Klopp and the Liverpool hierarchy refreshed the squad with the arrivals of Alexis Mac Allister, Dominik Szoboszlai, Wataru Endo and Ryan Gravenberch – a quartet with an average age of just 24 – and the new-look team has begun the 2023/24 season well, winning three of their first four Premier League games before the international break.
Relatively new signings Luis Diaz and Darwin Nuñez have also come to the fore and Klopp has referred to his side as ‘Liverpool reloaded’, with this new younger set-up representing a significant departure from a reliance on his trusted old guard.
Of the Reds’ 2019 Champions League final starting lineup, just five started the opening Premier League game of the season against Chelsea.
Though now 32, Van Dijk, however, remains an integral part of Klopp’s plans, having been appointed captain following Henderson’s exit.
Speaking to Dutch outlet Tubantia, he admitted that the club is going through a period of change and revealed he received assurances over his role from Klopp this summer.
“We are in a kind of transition phase with Liverpool,” he said.
“So of course, it’s nice to feel that the manager still considers me part of the new team, of Liverpool 2.0, so to speak. We spoke a lot in the first weeks of preparation. That showed confidence. Yes, certainly thanks to that captaincy.”
Van Dijk served a one-match ban for his sending off against Newcastle last month but is currently awaiting the outcome of an improper conduct charge from the FA, which could see him miss more games after the international break.