Jurgen Klopp’s aggressive tactics, Virgil van Dijk reveals Liverpool’s aggressive tactics that took ‘six months to master.
Virgil van Dijk, a Liverpool defender, says it took him six months to properly adapt to manager Jurgen Klopp’s high defensive line.
Since joining the Reds in December 2017, the centre-back has been a vital cog in the machine, and his diverse set of skills has allowed the squad to defend in a much more aggressive manner.
When Liverpool’s opponents have the ball, the forwards go on the hunt for it, and the rest of the team follows, clogging up the pitch and making it difficult to play out.
This strategy provides holes in front of the defense that can be exploited by sharp forwards, however, Van Dijk has excelled in similar situations since joining from Southampton.
Van Dijk was quizzed by former Manchester United defender Rio Ferdinand on the Premier League after another outstanding performance in Liverpool’s 2-0 win against Leicester City on Thursday night.
How long did it take him to adjust to Jurgen Klopp’s aggressive tactics on defense line:
“I think when I joined the club it took me definitely the first six months,” the Netherlands star admitted. “It was a settling in period.
“The first games you get to know how we play. Then you know the responsibility you have, the role you have to play.
“If we want to score goals and play good football and have the ball as much as we can, we must make sure we are high [up the pitch] and take that risk.
“When they play it long you have to be ready to run, to challenge and then there is plenty of time for our [number] six to run back or the full-back to tuck in.”
Ferdinand then asked Van Dijk whether the setup is now something that comes natural to the Liverpool defender, or whether it still requires fine-tuning in training.
“No it’s definitely not off the cuff!” said the centre-back.
“We want to keep a high line, because we know we can win the ball up high and it’s the risk you have to take.
“The ball takes some time to get to the front so you have time to get back as midfielders or even as strikers.
“So you have to take a risk and luckily they trust us at the back to be able to deal with that. But it is sometimes not easy, you need to be brave.”