Jurgen Klopp reveals that Virgil Van Dijk wasn't meant to start in Everton victory

Klopp commented on Van Dijk, the penalty incident and Roberto Firmino's clash with Mason Holgate.

Jurgen Klopp reveals that Virgil Van Dijk wasn't meant to start in Everton victory
Klopp embraces Van Dijk after the game (photo: Getty Images / Clive Brunskill)

Jurgen Klopp explained that it was a difficult decision to select Virgil van Dijk, after the Dutchman powered home a late debut header to secure Liverpool's progression to the FA Cup fourth round at the expense of rivals Everton.

Thrust into the starting XI just days after signing, Van Dijk's goal was arguably the dream start for his Anfield career.

However, Klopp revealed that it wasn't planned quite like this.

"The first plan wasn't to start him," said Klopp, of his record-breaking signing from Southampton.

"But," the German went on, "Dejan [Lovren] and Raggy [R Klavan] had played a lot of games in the last few weeks so I changed my mind this morning.

"It was a good idea because his whole game was good, he showed a lot of the things he wants to show in the future, heading good, good touch good under pressure and a threat on set-pieces."

Penalty karma for Reds

Van Dijk had to rescue Liverpool after Gylfi Sigurdsson had levelled up the scores, following up from James Milner's first-half penalty.

The penalty was another controversial one between the two teams, Adam Lallana going down under a light touch from Mason Holgate, leaving Everton fans dismayed.

Klopp, referencing the penalty given against Dejan Lovren when these two teams met in the league last month, raised a smile when asked about the incident.

"It was the exact same situation as in the last game. I don't think both decisions were penalties, but everyone told me after the first one [Lovren incident] it was a penalty."

No update on Holgate/Firmino clash

In an ill-tempered, feisty affair, there was one more incident that Klopp had to be asked about in his press conference, with tempers flaring between the aforementioned Holgate and Roberto Firmino.

With Holgate having pushed Firmino into the advertising hoardings, the Brazilian rushed back onto the pitch to confront his opponent, words said between the pair that left each set of players fuming.

"It hasn't been cleared up," said Klopp after the game.

"I can't say anything about it because I haven't spoken to anyone about it, I don't really know anything about it."