Virgil van Dijk is 'very fresh' ahead of his Liverpool debut against Everton, explained Jürgen Klopp.
The Reds’ new No.4 makes his first start for the club in the 230th Merseyside derby – an FA Cup third-round tie at Anfield – after sealing a transfer from Southampton on New Year’s Day.
And while the manager sought to temper expectations placed on the centre-half, he revealed Van Dijk is primed and ready for a much-anticipated bow.
“It’s just a normal football game. We couldn’t do too much so far; Ragnar Klavan and Dejan Lovren played a lot of games in the last few weeks, and both have a little bit here and a little bit there,” said Klopp.
“So, [we have] fresh Joel Matip for this very important game. And a very fresh Virgil van Dijk – not fine-tuned, of course, but to deal with my expectations as a player is quite easy.
“It’s only about what they are feeling from around. I hope that especially all the people of Liverpool accept that the best things will come. But tonight he has to help us. We know that and we will help him as well.”
Klopp has opted for six changes overall from the side that began the 2-1 victory over Burnley last time out, with Sadio Mane retaining his spot in the XI after attending the CAF African Player of the Year awards on Thursday night.
“Ghana is a nice country and not too far away from our time. It was a proper flight and maybe he had a better bed than I had!” the boss stated, when asked about the forward’s inclusion.
“Everything is good and he had enough time to sleep. Everything was perfectly organised – all good.”