Liverpool are likely to want star duo Virgil van Dijk and Trent Alexander-Arnold to be a part of their post-Jurgen Klopp era even if they are yet to start contract talks with the pair, according to Neil Jones.
Speaking exclusively to CaughtOffside for his latest Daily Briefing column, the Reds journalist took a look at the situation of Van Dijk in particular, who recently seemed to raise some doubts over his future as he heads towards the final year of his current contract at Anfield.
The Netherlands international has been a hugely important player for Liverpool down the years, undoubtedly establishing himself as one of the club’s best signings of recent times after his big-money move from Southampton in January 2018.
It would be a blow to lose Van Dijk, but Jones feels the 32-year-old’s comments were slightly taken out of context and the reaction to them was over-the-top, even if he also acknowledged that LFC still need to get started on negotiations with him and Alexander-Arnold.
“I think the Virgil van Dijk comments to the press recently were massively overplayed by some, with the story becoming far bigger than it needed to be. Van Dijk was asked a straightforward question after Liverpool’s win over Norwich, about his contract situation and whether he believed he would be a part of the Reds’ future, post-Klopp,” Jones said.
“And while he could have given a more PR-friendly answer – “I certainly hope so,” might have been the right one – it is understandable that he didn’t go overboard. He has 18 months left on his contract, and that cannot be ignored, so if he was to start talking about the next three or four years, it would have been a little odd.
“Of course with so much to be sorted behind the scenes at Liverpool, it is fair that fans have some concerns. A new manager is needed, a new sporting director too, and three of the club’s four best players are all approaching the last year of their respective deals.
“But whoever the new boss is, whoever the new sporting director is, I think it’s safe to say they will want both Van Dijk and Trent Alexander-Arnold on board. I don’t envisage any issues with those contract renewals personally. Negotiations are yet to get underway, but I think both will be part of the post-Klopp era at Anfield.”