Virgil van Dijk admits Sadio Mane was a ‘massive player’ for Liverpool but denies that the star’s departure is the reason for their struggles this season and insists the Senegal forward ‘wanted to leave’
- Sadio Mane departed Liverpool this summer after six seasons at the club
- The Senegal international has enjoyed a great to his career at Bayern Munich
- Meanwhile Jurgen Klopp’s team have struggled to find their form this season
- But Virgil van Dijk insisted Mane’s departure has not caused Liverpool’s slump
Virgil van Dijk has insisted that Sadio Mane’s summer departure to Bayern Munich is not the reason for Liverpool’s difficult start to the Premier League season.
In six glittering seasons at Anfield, the Senegal international played a pivotal role in Jurgen Klopp’s transforming of the club from perpetual underachievers to Premier League and Champions League winners.
Mane scored 23 goals in all competitions last season as Liverpool secured further domestic honours in the FA and League Cups and narrowly missed out on further glory in the league and in Europe.
Virgil van Dijk has insisted that Sadio Mane’s summer move to Bayern Munich is not the reason for Liverpool’s slump in form
But the Dutchman heaped praise on his former teammate, calling Mane a ‘massive player’
The arrivals of Luis Diaz and Darwin Nunez in the January and summer transfer windows respectively have been intended to help Liverpool move on without their star man, but the team have suffered from a serious slump in form so far this season.
However, when asked whether he believes there is a correlation between Mane’s departure and Liverpool’s difficulties on the pitch Virgil van Dijk was not convinced.
‘That’s funny, but I don’t think it’s that personally.’ The Dutchman told Sky Sports.
Mane joined Bundesliga champions Bayern Munich in the summer on a free transfer
‘Obviously Sadio was a massive player for us, but he wanted to leave, it’s not that we wanted to let him go.
‘We have players that have come in. Luis Diaz, outstanding. Darwin is getting to know how we really want to defend from the front and the importance of when we have the ball and when we don’t have the ball.
‘It takes a bit of time in this case, but I don’t think that’s the exact reason why we are not performing.’
When pressed on what exactly he believes to be the reason behind Liverpool’s stuttering start to the current campaign the 31-year-old admitted that he hasn’t been able to pinpoint a specific issue.
Van Dijk also hailed the arrival of Liverpool’s marquee summer signing Darwin Nunez
‘It’s difficult to find a direct reason for it. It could be multiple things, but I have no idea exactly why, and there is no point for us to think about why those games didn’t go as well as we wanted.
‘We want to improve it now, and in order to do that we have to work each and every day in training, and fight for each yard in the games, and try to win them.
‘That’s what we try to do, and I feel and I still think that we are going to be there, because we have the quality of players. We’ll keep working, we’ll keep improving, and hopefully we can turn it around.’
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