Van Dijk stays cool behind attack-minded Liverpool midfield

Liverpool was caught out by Genk at times in Wednesday's 4-1 win but Virgil van Dijk had no complaints about his extra defensive duties.

Liverpool defender Virgil van Dijk   -  Getty Images

Virgil van Dijk insists playing behind an attack-minded midfield is all part of the spice of life for Liverpool's defenders.

Manager Jurgen Klopp used a new-look midfield three of Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Naby Keita and Fabinho in Wednesday's 4-1 Champions League win against Genk.

Keita made only his second start of the season while Oxlade-Chamberlain scored twice on his first appearance in the competition since April 2018.

READ: Oxlade-Chamberlain revels on Champions League return

Genk caused problems for Liverpool's backline in the first half when space opened up in the final third, and Van Dijk concedes there is room for improvement, but he feels the Reds performed securely enough at Luminus Arena.

Asked if it had been more difficult to defend behind just one recognised holding midfielder in Fabinho, Van Dijk said: "I don't think so.

"We still had Fabinho in front of us who cleans up everything. They left one or two strikers up front and we tried to get involved. That's the way we play.

"We just have to do better at winning the second balls and in the transition with the counter-press."

Sadio Mane and Mohamed Salah were also on target for Liverpool in Belgium after Oxlade-Chamberlain's double - his second strike an impressive outside-of-the-boot strike just before the hour mark.

Oxlade-Chamberlain has battled back from a serious knee injury sustained against Roma 18 months ago and Van Dijk is pleased to have the English midfielder back involved.

"He has worked so hard to get back to this point and he deserves a night like that," Van Dijk said.

"He's such a great guy, such an important guy for the group. He's a quality player and he showed it, not only with his goals but also with his all-round game.

"During a difficult period, he always managed to stay positive. We were all there for him.

"Pre-season was tough for him but he's showing a lot of great things right now. He's so sharp. His goals made the difference.

"The first one was so important and the second was a killer for them. It's just great to see him back out there."

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