Jurgen Klopp hails Virgil van Dijk's 'fantastic' return to Southampton
By Rory O'Callaghan
Last Updated: 11/02/18 9:16pm
Virgil van Dijk dealt "fantastically" with his potentially awkward return to Southampton, according to Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp.
Van Dijk produced a solid performance in central defence as Liverpool ran out comfortable 2-0 winners at St Mary's on Sunday.
The Dutchman was booed by some sections of the home support following his £75m move from the Saints to Liverpool in the January transfer window, and Klopp believes Van Dijk did well to deal with the hostile reception on his first return to his former club.
"He did really well and dealt with the situation fantastically," said Klopp. "We had a little talk before the game, asking him what he thought - 'No, I'm fine, boss'.
"I didn't want to make him nervous if he isn't, obviously he wasn't.
"The crowd is there to make life difficult for the opponent, but it wasn't too difficult for him from this point of view and I'm happy about that."
Roberto Firmino handed the Reds an early lead with a well-taken finish before turning provider for Mohamed Salah, who notched his 29th goal of the season following an exquisite assist from the Brazilian.
Salah remains in the running for the Premier League Golden Boot after scoring his 22nd league goal of the campaign - a strike which saw him move back to within one of leading scorer Harry Kane - and Klopp hailed the Egyptian as "fantastic" in his post-match interview.
"I really think (Sergio) Aguero and Kane and a few others are really good players as well, but our boys are important for us," said the German.
"I love them because of their skills, their attitude but their work-rate is outstanding. They profit from our style of play as well. They play in areas where they like to have the ball.
"But, in this strong league, you cannot be third without fantastic players. They are two of them."
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