Football: Klopp ‘shouts a lot’, says van Dijk

LONDON – Virgil van Dijk is a tall and imposing defender, but even he admitted that he can be intimidated by his Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp, especially when the German shouts at him.

The Dutchman, speaking to Gary Neville on the Overlap on Monday, admitted he had come under fire from Klopp during the Reds’ Premier League opening-day draw with Fulham.

“Plenty of times (Klopp has shouted at me), not in my face because I think screaming in someone’s face is a little disrespectful but when somebody needs it, he does it, he shouts a lot,” he said.

“What I like, someone does that because they really care about you or the situation and make sure it improves or get anyone else sharper. I really enjoy that in a certain way and it helps me.

“When we played Fulham, in the last five minutes I was trying to go more direct and he was shouting me to play (the ball) a little bit more. I knew he was shouting from the side so I was trying to glance because I knew for a fact he was going to go after me.”

Klopp would probably have shouted at his players a little more this season after their struggles in the Premier League. They are in eighth place after 11 games and 12 points behind leaders Arsenal.

On Wednesday, though, things will likely be calmer as the attention turns to Europe, where a point at Ajax Amsterdam would be enough to see Liverpool through to the Champions League knockout stage with a game to spare. The Reds are second in Group A on nine points, six ahead of Ajax but three behind leaders Napoli.

Klopp’s men are heading into the clash following a shock 1-0 loss to lowly Nottingham Forest in the Premier League last Saturday, and much is at stake in Amsterdam.

With their chances of winning the English top flight getting slimmer, the Liverpool boss will look towards progression in Europe. Another defeat would mean that the Reds will have to face Napoli on the final matchday with their ticket to the knockout stage still not finalised.

Klopp, meanwhile, expects striker Darwin Nunez to return after missing the Nottingham clash because of a hamstring injury.

“Darwin should be back, the (Forest) game was just too early,” he said after the loss.

Liverpool, who beat Ajax 2-1 at Anfield in September, will travel to the Dutch capital without Luiz Diaz, Diogo Jota and Joel Matip due to injuries. Besides Nunez, Klopp could also welcome back Thiago Alcantara and Ibrahima Konate.

Ajax have bounced back with two straight victories in the Eredivisie since they lost 4-2 to Napoli earlier in October. In their last three domestic games, they scored 15 goals in total past their opponents and they lie top of the standings, four points ahead of PSV Eindhoven.

Coach Alfred Schreuder will be without Ahmetcan Kaplan, Devyne Rensch and Mohamed Ihattaren, while Kenneth Taylor is a doubt.

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