Liverpool's Jurgen Klopp: Nobody thinks about Virgil van Dijk's price tag now
LONDON -- Jurgen Klopp says "nobody thinks about" the price Liverpool paid for Virgil van Dijk anymore as a result of his consistent assured performances.
Van Dijk was named Man of the Match for Liverpool's 2-0 victory over Crystal Palace at Selhurst Park on Monday night.
The centre-back arrived from Southampton for £75 million -- a world-record fee for a defender -- in January, with Klopp now believing the 27-year-old is worth every penny Liverpool paid.
"It was really, really good," Klopp said of Van Dijk's performance against Palace. "It's obvious.
"Quality costs a specific price. With cars, it's the case, and with players too. Nobody thinks about it now.
"He's a player in this market who is worth it, and maybe now people think he was too cheap!
"He loves playing with these boys, and that's the most important thing."
Liverpool maintained their 100 percent record in the Premier League on Monday and took the lead right on the stroke of half-time as James Milner converted a penalty kick after Mamadou Sakho was controversially adjudged to have brought down Mohamed Salah.
Palace were reduced to 10 men in the 75th minute when Aaron Wan-Bissaka denied Salah a clear goalscoring opportunity before Sadio Mane netted Liverpool's second deep into injury off a counter-attack.
"I thought we could have done better, but yes we expected Palace to be that strong," Klopp said. "They are clear in their approach, playing a big number of long balls. Even in the warmup I saw [Wayne] Hennessey and thought: 'Wow, that's really difficult!'
"I don't know a lot of defenders in the world that can defend Christian Benteke 100 percent of the time, clearly without a foul. It was very important that Virgil was there with that kind of presence.
"But still, the ball drops and then there's a second ball, which was their plan. They are difficult, but defensively it was absolutely OK.
"Offensively I was not too happy with our play, the rhythm and the timing was not good. Both full-backs needed to be involved much more, open up their game a little bit to give different options. They shouldn't be our No. 10s but they should be options.
"Still, around the goal we had, I think, three or four situations, good passes around the box, bit unlucky and then the penalty situation. I didn't see it back so I can't say, but in the game, it looked like a penalty.
"Millie scored in the best minute of the first half, and we did the exact same in the second half, only we controlled the game, the intensity of the full 90 minutes.
"But it was not a brilliant football game from us. We won it because we scored in two very decisive moments. That's good -- a big step for us.
"Everyone who watches us knows if we are not brilliant we usually lose. Today we were not brilliant but we still won. That was nice."
Palace boss Roy Hodgson, meanwhile, felt referee Michael Oliver's decision to award the visitors a penalty late in the first half was a turning point in the game.
"There's some comfort that we made it difficult for Liverpool, and some pride. But that's not going to change my disappointment and anger that we came in at half-time one goal down," Hodgson told a news conference.
"The frustration is because I don't think that's a penalty. I do think it's a penalty in the last minute when Max Meyer gets wiped out by Virgil van Dijk, but these things happen.
"Sometimes refereeing goes against you. As a result, it's disappointing, a cause for frustration and anger.
"It's not a penalty. I've been in football a long time. If that's a penalty than the game has changed beyond all recognition.
"There's no way he is looking to foul the player. There is no way he is looking to get contact on the player at all.
"If people can't see that, then I'll be the pariah who only sees what he wants to see. I shall never accept that's a penalty. I don't want penalties for my team in that way."