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Virgil Van Dijk Wants To Make the Rest of the Season Special

The captain wants to his teammates to play for their manager.

Fulham v Liverpool - Carabao Cup Semi Final Second Leg Photo by Mike Hewitt/Getty Images

Jürgen Klopp broke the football internet by announcing on Friday that he is leaving Liverpool at the end of this season. As shocking as it was for the fans and pundits, it likely couldn’t compare to the feelings of his players upon hearing the news.

Virgil van Dijk, who had been given the armband this year by Klopp, is one of many players who have flourished under the guidance of the talented German teacher.

In an interview in the wake of this announcement, van Dijk explained how Klopp broke the news to the players. He also reiterated what the boss said, which was to focus on the work ahead of them.

“Yeah, he told us in private of course, and all of us were together,” he said. “Like I said, it’s a hard one to take but our mindset is to focus on business. We have a lot of targets still to achieve this year and why not finish the season on a high and together with celebrations for the boss as well?”

It’s rare for a manager to leave a team on a high — even more so when there’s no lucrative opportunity that they’re jumping ship to. It’s well known that Klopp hadn’t intended to take another managerial job immediately after leaving Borussia Dortmund, but was swayed by the Liverpool job. Though he’d only stayed seven seasons in his other managerial positions, he will have been with Liverpool for almost nine. So when he says that he needs a break for his mental health and the well-being of his family, it’s easy to believe.

He also did this in the best possible way. He gave the club months to take their time and find a new replacement. He made Liverpool Football Club a place where any elite manager would want to work. He gave the players and fans time to gets used to the idea and grieve. And most importantly, after he’s gone, the club will be in a much better place than when he arrived.

All that means that while it will be a bittersweet moment, celebrating the man who dedicated almost a decade of his life to making the club better should be a heartfelt experience for players and fans alike.

“I think it just should give you that extra boost, that special feeling that let’s make the most out of it,” van Dijk confirms.

“I think that feeling was already [there], like I said before, since pre-season that we wanted to make things right from last year and we have to keep that going. As a fan and as a supporter of the football club, it will also feel that way. You want to be there and you want to be there for the team, be there for the manager. Let’s make the rest of the season a special one so he can have the farewell that he definitely deserves.”

As of right now, Liverpool sit at the top of the table. They are in the League Cup final and on Sunday they will try to pass Norwich City to advance to the fifth round of the FA Cup. They are also in the knockout stages of the Europa League. There’s plenty to play for, and now an even more pressing reason to want to win it all.

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