'It wasn't based on the last four or five performances' - Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp reacts to Virgil van Dijk making the FIFA FIFPro World XI
- Van Dijk included in FIFA FIFPro World XI
- Klopp backs Van Dijk's inclusion
- Dutch defender deserved as per Klopp
WHAT HAPPENED? The FIFA FIFPro World XI was announced at FIFA's The Best awards for 2022 on Monday. This was the third time - after 2019 and 2020 - that Liverpool's defensive talisman Van Dijk has been included in the all-star lineup, as a reward for his performances at both club level and on the international stage with the Netherlands.
Klopp was pleased to see Van Dijk rewarded for a stellar year that saw him help Liverpool win an FA Cup and League Cup double, but also pointed out that his recent displays were not factored into the equation. The 31-year-old was granted leave to attend the awards ceremony amid a tough time for the Reds, who are in danger of finishing the season without a trophy and outside of the Premier League's top four.
WHAT THEY SAID: Speaking to reporters Klopp said of Van Dijk's World XI nod: "It wasn't based on the last four or five performances, but on the last year and it's fully deserved. He asked if he could go and I said of course. He was back last night. It's great."
THE BIGGER PICTURE: The Netherlands international defender was inducted into the World XI team alongside Achraf Hakimi and Joao Cancelo in the backline, with Emiliano Martinez named in goal.
Kevin De Bruyne, Casemiro and Luka Modric formed the midfield while the four-man attack was made up of Lionel Messi, Kylian Mbappe, Karim Benzema and Erling Haaland.
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WHAT NEXT FOR VIRGIL VAN DIJK? Virgil Van Dijk will be next seen in action on Wednesday when Klopp's side take on Wolves in a Premier League clash.