Jurgen Klopp has named his captain for Liverpool’s preseason friendly against Leicester in Singapore on Sunday.
There is a vacancy in the Reds’ squad following Jordan Henderson’s move to Al Ettifaq, and the manager may be indicating who will take the armband long-term as the 33-year-old’s successor.
During today’s press conference ahead of the Foxes match, the German dropped a telling hint about the captaincy while also announcing one piece of team news.
“Virgil will start the game tomorrow and will be captain,” Klopp said (via Liverpool Echo). I’ve already made my decision, but I need to inform the players. I didn’t expect to make that decision so soon.”
It should come as no surprise that Van Dijk has been tasked with leading Liverpool onto the pitch tomorrow. He is the third-oldest player in Klopp’s squad, at 32, and one of those older than him is third-choice custodian Adrian (Transfermarkt).
The Dutchman has also captained his country and has previously skippered the Reds (Transfermarkt), and the manner in which he policed his teammates with audible on-field instructions during last Monday’s friendly against Greuther Furth suggested that he’d be an ideal fit for the armband.
Based on the first two pre-season games, there will almost certainly be a slew of substitutions during the game, so whoever takes over as captain once Van Dijk is taken off (which seems likely at some point) could be a prime candidate to succeed James Milner as the club’s vice-captain.
Liverpool’s last two permanent captains both won the Champions League during their tenures in charge. Whoever is named as Henderson’s replacement will want to emulate him and Steven Gerrard by doing the same for the Reds.