“It was good we didn’t play Everton immediately again, let me say it like this.”
Jurgen Klopp has said it was just as well that Liverpool didn’t play Everton soon after the incident which resulted in Virgil van Dijk’s long-term injury.
Liverpool’s star defender has not played since the collision with Everton goalkeeper Jordan Pickford after rupturing an anterior cruciate ligament.
The two sides will meet for the first time since in the Merseyside derby on Saturday. Klopp admitted in his pre-match press conference that there would have been considerable tension had they played again soon after Van Dijk’s injury.
The big fella 😍⚽️ pic.twitter.com/WnqTK7fh5h
— Liverpool FC (@LFC) February 19, 2021
“Nothing will be carried to tomorrow, that’s how it is.
“A week later, two weeks later, three weeks later after we got the diagnosis [on Van Dijk] and all these kind of things, it was good we didn’t play Everton immediately again, let me say it like this.
“That’s how it is. We’re all human beings and of course, it was not nice but now it’s long gone.
“We just don’t think about it any more, it’s still a derby and that’s enough to be motivated at the absolute highest level and trying to play the best football you can play and that’s it, pretty much,” Klopp said.
Everton are just three points behind Liverpool in the Premier League table, having played one game less than their local rivals.
‘They are closer than ever before.’
The Toffees have made significant improvements under manager Carlo Ancelotti, with Klopp acknowledging that the sides are probably closer in quality now than any other time during the German’s time in charge.
“They had good teams over the years, in the specific games it was most of the time close I think.
“But a manager like Carlo helps each team in the world, it was clear beforehand.
“He has a really good squad and a really good team, and so yeah maybe they are closer than ever before, I don’t know.
“From the position in the table for sure. That’s a while ago that we were that close, I think.
“So yes, probably closer than they have been ever before.”