The refresh of Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool has continued apace with the departures of Liverpool FC icons Roberto Firmino, Jordan Henderson, James Milner, and Fabinho, thus far this summer. With both Henderson and Milner gone, this means that Liverpool would be on the hunt for a new captain and vice captain.
Yesterday’s announcement, then, ushers in a new era under Jurgen Klopp with Virgil Van Dijk being handed the armband and Trent Alexander-Arnold being named as the Dutchman’s second in command. It was perhaps not a surprise given Van Dijk has often been handed the armband when both Henderson and Milner were unavailable, and it felt like Trent’s own growth and evolution has seen him become more vocal on and off the pitch. More, it reflects an oft bandied truth that Jurgen Klopp’s edition of the Reds has seemed to prioritize players who could lead, with Mohamed Salah, Sadio Mane, Andy Robertson, and Dejan Lovren all recent Liverpool players that have worn the armbands for their respective national teams.
Today, Klopp provided a few remarks to the official site regarding both Van Dijk and Alexander-Arnold in an interview that yielded some insights into the thinking behind these moves.
On owning the selections of both Virgil and Trent as captain and vice captain:
It was my decision. We had to make the decision and I had to think about it. But with Virg it’s really now not difficult because I think he’s an absolutely natural follower of a really big personality with Hendo, and we had to replace James Milner as well.
On Trent’s suitability as vice captain:
The vice-captaincy, I just think Trent is ready. He is our Scouser, he is playing for me pretty much since the beginning, if not then half a year later he was with us. He improved, he developed as a player and as a person massively. I wanted him to be in that role, we spoke about it and he was more than happy to take it because, again, it’s important that the boys understand the work behind the honour, let me say it like that.
On the leadership group that will support the captain and vice-captain:
So, the thing is that the leadership group is Virgil, Trent, Robbo, Ali and Mo, and they all have, like, captain’s potential.
The whole interview is worth a read as Klopp goes into detail on Robbo, Alisson Becker, and Mo and their leadership capabilities as well as peppering in a lot of that trademark self-effacing charm that he always brings. We look forward to what this group of leaders can achieve in the coming year.