Jürgen Klopp has explained his ‘spontaneous’ decision to hand Virgil van Dijk his Liverpool debut in the FA Cup after he joined the club from Southampton.
Very few players have made as an immediate impact after joining a club as Virgil van Dijk did after signing for Liverpool for £75 million in January.
The Dutchman might have failed to help prevent Everton scoring on his debut but he more than made up for that by knocking the Ev out of the FA Cup by crashing a header home at the Kop End.
Being a class player and scoring on your debut is one way to endear Liverpool fans to you but the one thing that tops all else is ending Everton’s season in January. Van Dijk could have been anonymous from then on and still got praise from supporters.
Van Dijk made his debut just four days after his mega-money move to Merseyside and Klopp has revealed that he almost didn’t give the former Southampton man his chance to wear Red for the first time.
The German manager actually changed his mind on throwing van Dijk into the thick of things just hours before kickoff.
“It was not a tough decision, it was only a spontaneous decision,” Klopp said during an interview for the club’s official 2017-18 end-of-season DVD.
“In the morning, I actually thought he will not play. But we had one session in the morning and I came out on the pitch and [said], ‘Ah, come on, why not?’
“It’s not that I didn’t want him to play obviously, we bought him so we wanted him to play. But it was the first game, against Everton, if something goes the wrong direction it’s not a cool start and we want a good start for him.
“But then I thought he’s ready for it, so we did it and it was a genius decision!
“He scored the first goal, in front of the Kop, so that’s not too bad.”