Virgil van Dijk says truths have to be told as he played down an exchange with manager Jurgen Klopp amid Liverpool’s pre-season struggles.
The Dutch defender and Klopp had strong words after the Champions League winners were opened up by Lorenzo Insigne for the first goal in Napoli’s 3-0 friendly win at Murrayfield.
Van Dijk revealed: “It was just things… between me and him. It’s not necessary [to reveal it].
“Sometimes you have to tell someone the truth, that’s how it is. I think everyone has to communicate with each other. It [the performance] was quite sloppy at times, but there’s no concerns from my point of view.
“There’s plenty more to come from the team. At times, we showed promising football as well, and there’s a reason why we are European champions. We have to stay calm.”
‘We will be ready for City’
With key men such as Mohamed Salah, Roberto Firmino and Alisson returning, Liverpool now turn their attention to a training camp in Evian, where they face Lyon in a friendly on Wednesday, before the FA Community Shield encounter with Manchester City on Sunday.
Van Dijk admitted the test against the Premier League champions is the perfect opportunity for the Reds to respond after a pre-season in which they have lost three of six matches.
“Exactly,” he added. “We have to be at our top level. If we play like that, we won’t win the Community Shield, it’s as simple as that.
“As I say, our season starts properly next Sunday, so our focus will be on that. We will definitely be ready for City.”
‘It will be different on Sunday’
With one clean sheet at Tranmere in pre-season, Klopp has demanded a defensive improvement against City.
“We didn’t defend counter-attacks well against Napoli, we lost the ball in the wrong moments and didn’t protect it, and if that happens against City, you don’t have a chance,” the manager said.
“We have to defend in a good way because if you don’t defend well against City we can get a proper knock.
“But we know each other long enough and well enough now to know it will be different on Sunday.”
‘It’s a final’
Klopp, though, said the outcome of the game would have no bearing on the season ahead where he hopes to renew their title rivalry with City.
“If I have to say this would be the statement for the season, I would be really mad,” he said.
“I don’t know exactly why people play this competition if it means nothing. Why don’t we cancel it then?
“It’s a final. [This is] the first time that I realised that nobody sees it like that to be honest. A ‘curtain-raiser’ is unbelievable.
“If we win it, good. Will it have an influence on the season? I don’t think so. If we don’t win it, not good. Will it have an influence on the season? No, again, I don’t think so.
“We have to prove ourselves during the season, not in one game. It’s a game and, even if we only have eight players available, I would like to try to win it. We cannot risk any players. We have to see who will be able to line up and who will train and who will play.
“I don’t think we can expect to play our best game of the season on Sunday. That’s how it is with pre-season. But it’s about winning a football game. Hopefully we’ll find a way to do that.”