Adrian gets Van Dijk’s backing

Adrian gets Van Dijk’s backing

Adrian could scarcely ask for a bigger stage on which to make his first Liverpool start, but the experienced goalkeeper has been backed by Virgil van Dijk to prove his worth in the UEFA Super Cup.

Eyebrows were raised last week when the 32-year-old joined the Reds on a free transfer, with the former West Ham goalkeeper replacing Simon Mignolet as back-up to Alisson Becker.

Adrian has had precious little time to settle into his new surroundings, though, as Alisson sustained a calf complaint against Norwich in Friday’s Premier League opener.

Alisson Becker, right, is helped off the pitch against Norwich (Martin Rickett/PA)
Alisson Becker, right, is helped off the pitch against Norwich (Martin Rickett/PA)

The Spaniard produced a solid display after his 39th-minute introduction and is now set to make his first start against Chelsea in Istanbul, where Van Dijk backed his new team-mate to impress.

“Adrian has been in for his second week,” the Holland captain said. “Since then, we have been working day in, day out.

“For him, it is good for him that he is playing straight away. It is not the situation though that he would hope for, that he would come in after Alisson gets injured.

“He is experienced enough to go out there and show his qualities. He has plenty of qualities. He played so many years in the Premier League and you can already see in training how good he can be.

“He needs our support as we defend together. He needs us and we need him as well. He will definitely do the job.”

Sadio Mane feels ready to go (Adam Davy/PA)
Sadio Mane feels ready to go (Adam Davy/PA)

Alisson’s injury is one of several selection headaches for Jurgen Klopp, who has to decide whether to start Sadio Mane after an intense summer playing for Senegal at the Africa Cup of Nations.

Asked about his fitness, the forward said: “Yes, I think I am ready. Time is scarce.

“For sure, I have been playing for a long time. I haven’t had holidays for seven years of over 20 days, I am used to it. I am ready. I am here now so let’s do it.”

- Press Association

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