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  • David Tyrer

Klopp's response to Liverpool group & Van Dijk's award

What a 12 months it's been for the Reds, finishing second to Man City in the Premier League with a record points total, winning the Champions League and Super Cup.

And now we've got a favourable group to kick off our defence of our European Cup. The cherry on top of the icing on the cake are the awards for individual excellence.

Last season, Virgil Van Dijk picked the domestic ones up and now he's sweeping awards on a European level too, with the UEFA Defender of the Year and now Men's Player of the Year.

Not to mention Alisson being voted as UEFA Goalkeeper of the Year too. And it's fair to say that Jurgen Klopp was pleased with all results tonight.

Speaking to after the match, he said: "Napoli are just a really good side.

"The home game we played against Napoli was one of the best games we played because it was so rock solid.

"It was not allowed to concede against Napoli with the strength they have in counter-attacks. The way they play is clear and it’s really good. In the pre-season games, when we won 5-0 in Dublin I was not interested in the result.

"Now this year we lost 3-0 and that’s not too interesting, but you see just how good they are. They were not complete, we were not complete, but they are a really good side. Carlo [Ancelotti] has such experience and has won the competition so often.

"When they went out last year, it was pretty close – Ali made a big save in the last seconds, so they will remember that and it will be emotional, I am pretty sure.

"With the other two teams, I know how people are and immediately they will say these are the two 'smaller teams' of the group.

"They are not. I am not sure how it is for Genk, but for Salzburg they fought for so long and so hard to be part of the Champions League, so they will fight with whatever they have.

"They will have 30,000 in their stadium who will show how long they were waiting for it. That’s the group, so now let’s prepare for it."

Whilst Napoli are a known quantity for us, Genk and Salzburg are very much not, but it'll be an interesting group nonetheless. One which, on paper, Liverpool should be winning.

As for the award for Van Dijk, he said: "Brilliant! It’s really big. I wanted to call him immediately but he had to go on stage.

"I’m so happy for him; I’m happy for us as well because he knows that without the boys around him, he cannot win that prize.

"It’s a prize for all of us – but we send our big man there to get it. It’s big. It’s really rare for a defender. It’s such important information for football, such an important sign for football.

"Yes, we all love goals – we want to score them and see them – but more and more and more people get excited about defending.

"Virg is an exceptional defender, in the moment 100 per cent the best defender in the world, so he deserves that prize absolutely.

"It’s now the icing on the cake of the Champions League campaign last year. It’s really big and I’m completely happy for him and his family."

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