Why Virgil van Dijk missed Liverpool’s FA Cup clash with Arsenal

Jurgen Klopp has confirmed Liverpool captain Virgil van Dijk missed Sunday’s FA Cup third round clash with Arsenal due to illness.

The defender was a surprising exclusion from theReds squad to face Arsenal, with Ibrahima Konate and 20-year-old Jarell Quansah playing at the heart of the defence instead.

Speaking to BBC Sport about Van Dijk’s absence, Klopp revealed that the Dutch defender was unavailable due to a virus:

 “Virg [van Dijk] is ill. We were actually kind of lucky in the last two, three weeks because a lot of staff had it but not the players.

“And now Virg got the virus and we have to see how he feels tomorrow and if he is available for the next one. But for today there was no chance, so we didn’t even try it.”

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Konate was impressive / BEN STANSALL/GettyImages

Despite their leader’s illness, Liverpool’s defence put in an impressive performance at the Emirates Stadium on Sunday, keeping a clean sheet thanks in particular to the player of the match showing from Konate. Klopp was keen to praise the centre-backs for their showing in the win during his post-match press conference:

“Top, top,” said Klopp. “Oh my God, the horrible moment was [when] Ibou was twice down and then Jarell goes down and jarred his back, twisted a little bit. Actually, I thought that’s it and then it would have been really tricky early in the game.

“It was really good [from Konate and Quansah] and Joey [Gomez] again [was] good and Trent exceptional. Then you have Ali [Alisson Becker] for moments, so that’s helpful as well.”

When asked about Van Dijk’s potential availability for Liverpool’s upcoming Carabao Cup semi final first leg clash with Fulham on Wednesday evening, Klopp said that he was “hopeful” the defender would return:

“[He is] ill. I’m hopeful [he will return on Wednesday] but I don’t know. He came and it is difficult for Virg to look [rubbish] but he did, so we sent him home again.”

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