"That’s why we changed him" - Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp reveals reason for Virgil van Dijk's half-time substitution vs Brentford

Jurgen Klopp explains reason for Virgil van Dijk substitution in Liverpool
Jurgen Klopp explains reason for Virgil van Dijk substitution in Liverpool's loss vs Brentford.

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp has revealed the reason behind Virgil van Dijk's surprise half-time substitution against Brentford at the Brentford Community Stadium on January 2.

The Reds conceded in the 19th minute via an Ibrahima Konate own goal after a corner. To make matters worse for the Merseyside club, Kostas Tsimikas' mistake before half-time had a domino effect that led to Brentford doubling their lead.

Yoane Wissa headed in his team's second goal, which demanded a big half-time reaction from Liverpool. Klopp made a triple substitution before the start of the second half.

Harvey Elliott and Tsimikas were taken off after subpar performances. Van Dijk also made way for Joel Matip - a move which surprised fans given the Netherlands international was on the bench in the second half without any signs of discomfort.

Liverpool substituted off Virgil van Dijk at half-time 😱

A tactical change which saw Van Dijk being replaced would have been unheard of, given the centre-back's status at the club. As it turns out, it was a precautionary move from the German tactician.

Speaking after his team's 3-1 loss against the Bees, Klopp told beIN Sports (h/t Mirror):

"Virgil felt the hamstring a little bit. He said he is fine, but when I said we don’t take any risks, the physios were quite happy with that. I think it is nothing serious, but that’s why we changed him."

Elliott and Tsimikas were replaced by Naby Keita and Andrew Robertson. The latter was perhaps rested for the first half after a knock during his team's 2-1 win against Leicester City at Anfield.

Klopp explained the reason for this particular double switch at the half-time break and said:

"In the other two positions, we wanted to have fresh legs and different skillsets."

Jamie Carragher comments on Liverpool's first half struggles

Liverpool legend Jamie Carragher was critical of his former team's dismal display against the Bees.

📺 Jurgen Klopp on Virgil van Dijk’s potential injury:“I don’t think it’s an injury, he just felt the intensity.” 🔴

Speaking after the Reds' triple substitution, Carragher said, via the aforementioned source:

"He has to make changes at half time, it shows how disappointed he is. It’s interesting with the Virgil van Dijk one, whether that’s an injury or if he had to make the change because he has really struggled."
"Brentford have got joy in behind, he had to make changes because that was an unacceptable 45 minutes from Liverpool."

For most Liverpool supporters, it is inconceivable for Van Dijk to be on the bench if he is fit and available for selection. But it was a difficult game for the Dutch centre-back.

Brentford scored twice in the first half but put the ball in the back of the net four times while the Dutchman was still on the pitch. It remains to be seen if he will start the Reds' FA Cup game against Wolves on 7 January.

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Edited by Arshit Garg
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