Virgil van Dijk defends Liverpool team-mate Joe Gomez after England boos

"It's disappointing to see. Everyone needs to move on, leave Joe especially alone," says Liverpool centre-back.

Virgil van Dijk and Joe Gomez ahead of a Liverpool Champions League tie 0:23
Liverpool defender Virgil van Dijk says he was disappointed to see team-mate Joe Gomez get booed by England fans

Virgil van Dijk has defended Liverpool team-mate Joe Gomez after his row with Raheem Sterling and has called for people to "leave him alone".

Gomez was loudly booed by some England supporters in the 7-0 win over Montenegro on Thursday, which left him devastated and manager Gareth Southgate offering the player and his family extra support after the game.

The boos followed a row at St George's Park on Monday when Sterling tried to grab Gomez by the neck and said "you think you're the big man now?" after Liverpool's 3-1 win over Manchester City.

Joe Gomez pushes Raheem Sterling away after the pair squared up at Anfield 5:23
How Raheem Sterling's row with Gomez unfolded in the England camp

That row led to Southgate handing Sterling a one-game ban after both players had made up, meaning the City forward missed the win over Montenegro and may be the reason why some England fans decided to boo Gomez.

"It's disappointing to see," Van Dijk said of England supporters' treatment toward Gomez.

"I want to say as well it's been dealt with. I think everyone should stop talking about it because it's just a thing that happened. They all sorted it out.

"Everyone needs to move on, leave Joe especially alone. But yes, it was disappointing to see."

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Van Dijk was speaking ahead of the Netherlands' European Qualifier against Northern Ireland on Saturday, live on Sky Sports Football.

Live Euro 2020 Qualifiers

The 28-year-old will reunite with Gomez next week ahead of Liverpool's trip to Crystal Palace on November 23. The Reds are eight points clear at the top of the Premier League following the victory over title-rivals City.

Gomez is an extremely popular figure inside the England dressing room, and Sky Sports News understands there is widespread bemusement among his international team-mates about why the crowd reacted to him in the way they did.

 0:37
England manager Gareth Southgate says he 'doesn't understand' why Gomez was booed

Gomez was amongst the first England players to leave the changing room after the game, and walked through the mixed zone alongside a senior member of England's media team.

Sterling himself tweeted after the game, appealing for the England fans to stop the abuse, making it clear that Gomez was entirely blameless in the spat that left him with a scratch under his eye.

Southgate too praised Gomez's reaction to the provocation from Sterling, saying he had shown admirable restraint and professionalism.

Southgate has indicated Sterling will start the game against Kosovo in Pristina on Sunday night, after he was dropped at Wembley as punishment, as England's 7-0 victory secure their place at the Euro 2020 finals.

It is thought a number of senior England players are now keen for Gomez to also be given a starting place, to reinforce the image of squad unity, and help the Liverpool man get over one of the most difficult weeks in his career.

No international break for Super 6

No international break for Super 6

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