Jurgen Klopp has revealed who will captain Liverpool for Sunday’s pre-season friendly against Leicester in Singapore.
There is a vacancy for the role within the Reds’ squad after Jordan Henderson’s move to Al Ettifaq, and the manager may be giving an early indicator as to who will take the armband long-term as the 33-year-old’s successor.
Speaking in today’s press conference prior to the Foxes clash, the German dropped a telling clue as to the captaincy, while simultaneously declaring one piece of team news.
Klopp said (via Liverpool Echo): “Virgil will start the game tomorrow and he will be captain. I know already my decision but I have to tell the players. I didn’t expect to have that decision a few weeks ago.”
It’ll come as no surprise that Van Dijk has been handed the responsibility of leading Liverpool onto the pitch tomorrow. At 32, he’s the third-oldest member of Klopp’s squad, and one of those more senior than him is third-choice goalkeeper Adrian (Transfermarkt).
The Dutchman has also skippered the Reds on multiple occasions in the past and is his country’s captain (Transfermarkt), while the manner in which he policed his teammates with audible on-field instructions during last Monday’s friendly against Greuther Furth suggested that he’d be an ideal fit for the armband.
On the evidence of the first two pre-season games, there’ll almost certainly be substitutions galore during the match, so whoever takes the captaincy once Van Dijk goes off (as seems likely at some point) could be a prime candidate to succeed James Milner as the club’s vice-captain.
Liverpool’s last two permanent skippers both lifted the Champions League trophy during their respective spells in the role. Whoever is named as Henderson’s successor will be yearning to follow him and Steven Gerrard in doing likewise for the Reds.