Virgil van Dijk insists he completely understands Jurgen Klopp’s decision to rotate his Liverpool squad in recent weeks – and has a stark warning for anyone who questions his methods.
The Reds altered their line-up for a third successive match on Saturday evening as Daniel Sturridge scored a late beauty to preserve the Reds’ unbeaten start to the Premier League season in a 1-1 draw at Chelsea.
While the substitute’s impact drew widespread praise from Klopp, the striker might have considered himself unfortunate to have only started the match from the bench, having also netted in the midweek Carabao Cup loss to the Londoners.
Sturridge, along with summer signings Xherdan Shaqiri and Naby Keita have found themselves in and out of Klopp’s starting XIs, while another recruit, Fabinho, has had to stay even more patient.
Beyond that, Nathaniel Clyne, Alberto Moreno, Dejan Lovren, Adam Lallana, Dominic Solanke and Divock Origi have all only made one appearance or less in the opening nine games.
And while none of Liverpool’s squad men have publicly questioned the manager, or asked to be given more gametime by Klopp, Van Dijk has told any player disgruntled by his selections to like it or lump it.
“You have to [understand], otherwise you better leave,” the towering Dutchman, who has missed out just once this season, said.
“We all want one thing, we all want to be successful, everyone, and we need everyone’s help.
“It’s a long season with a lot of games, we need everyone and everyone knows that as well.
“And that’s a big strength for us. Everyone is doing their bit because the season is long.”
Liverpool next face a tricky trip to Napoli in the Champions League, before a huge match with Manchester City on Sunday.