Virgil van Dijk is not overweight - Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp

Tony Cascarino claims Virgil van Dijk needs a summer at Liverpool before he can produce his best

Tony Cascarino claims Virgil van Dijk needs a summer at Liverpool before he can produce his best

Liverpool's attitude to the move then changed in the second half of December, with Coutinho's move to Barcelona confirmed soon after Van Dijk signed for the Anfield club.

Carragher agreed with the German tactician's assessment and is convinced that a lack of pre-season has held the 26-year-old back in terms of reaching his optimum physical state. Following his debut victor over Everton, the Dutchman played 90 minutes in both shock defeats at the hands of West Bromwich Albion and Swansea City.

"It's quite hard. Our defending is different to Southampton, for example, and Holland, if you want, so that's why it makes more sense that you get used to it".

Liverpool weren't completely frugal in the market however, as amidst all of the talk of replacing Coutinho it tends to be forgotten that they started the transfer window by signing Southampton defender Virgil van Dijk for a club-record £75m.

Klopp insisted that is "why it makes so much sense" that the player needs time to "get used to it" and praised how "outstandingly good" Van Dijk played against Everton in his first game. West Brom was a bad game of the whole team.

Klopp said that Van Dijk has not had a "consistent season" so far this season and added that he has not known him "long enough" to know whether he is capable of playing on Saturday and then Tuesday.

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"Yes, we could have done something", said the Liverpool boss.

"It is just exactly as I expected it would be: a few ups and downs". You miss a player for a week and you think 'okay, we need another player. It's really not a big thing, three games is like not being injured.

"You want to do better and have longer runs in the cup competitions".

Liverpool are third in the league with 50 points from 25 games, 18 points behind runaway league leaders Manchester City.

Van Dijk is set to return to the starting line-up for Sunday's visit of Tottenham which could play a significant part in the race for the top four.

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