Virgil van Dijk knew the difficult task awaiting Liverpool at his former club Southampton and was therefore delighted to depart St Mary's with all three points and a clean sheet for his new club on Sunday.
The world's most expensive centre-back returned to his former ground for the first time since joining the Reds in the January transfer window, and returned with a composed and assured performance as the visitors won 2-0.
The Dutchman was commanding throughout and showed the leadership that the Reds have been lacking in recent months. The performance was everything Klopp could have asked from his new player and it was a cruel reminder for the Southampton fans who were reminded of the quality of player that had left them for Liverpool yet again.
Van Dijk admitted to a slightly odd feeling back at the club he represented for two-and-a-half years so soon but was happy to contribute to a victory which lifted his team back up to third in the Premier League table:
“It was a bit strange to come back here and do everything the other way round, coming into the away dressing room,” the Dutchman told Liverpoolfc.com. But I enjoyed it; we kept a clean sheet and scored good goals. We should have scored more.
“I’m just happy to get a win. It’s always difficult to come here – I know how difficult Southampton can make it. I had a good day," the 26-year-old added. “Now we’re fully focused on the Champions League."
Weekend results return Reds to third as well as two points off second
As well as leapfrogging Tottenham Hotspur, who beat North London rivals Arsenal on Saturday, Liverpool reduced the gap to bitter rivals Manchester United in second to two points after their defeat at Newcastle United earlier in the day to further inflict more misery for José Mourinho on Tyneside.
“I didn’t know,” said Liverpool's number 4, “but it’s obviously good for us.”
The goals came from usual suspects for the Reds, once again, by Roberto Firmino and Mohamed Salah as the attackers took turns to set up the other in the sixth and 42nd minutes respectively.
Firmino's 20th goal in all competitions put Liverpool ahead after just six minutes from Salah's pass before Firmino returned the favour with a stunning flick, setting up Salah for his 29th of the season.
“It was fantastic, a great assist from Bobby. You enjoy those situations,” added Van Dijk.
“As a defence and the holding midfielders – and everyone in the team – you just need to be 100 per cent focused and not concede. Today it went well.”