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    Van Dijk substitution precautionary as Klopp eases injury fears

    Virgil van Dijk’s departure at half-time after the 3-1 defeat to Brentford was a precautionary measure, according to Jurgen Klopp, after the defender struggled with the intensity of the game.

    After an own goal by Ibrahima Konate and a header by Ioane Wyssa to send Liverpool 2-0 down before half-time, Klopp made changes to remove Van Dijk, Konstantinos Tsimikas and Harvey Elliott from the game.

    While replacements Joel Matip, Andrew Robertson and Naby Keita were initially positive influences, they failed to stop the Reds from sliding into their first loss to the Bees since 1938.

    Van Dijk started the game as captain with Jordan Henderson and James Milner and his departure led to speculation that he was injured.

    However, Klopp expressed his confidence that the Dutch skipper had escaped any major injury at his post-match press conference, stating: “Virgil felt a bit of muscle but said he was fine and he is very good at such things. .

    “But I didn’t want to take the risk – the physios looked quite pleased when I said we weren’t taking any chances. I think it’s not an injury, he just felt the tension.

    “The other two were tactical. Obviously, we had opportunities.

    “We could bring in Naby, who I think played a really good game, and Robbo – and Robbo with the first action after the break was exactly what we needed.

    “We needed that speed in the back and that was the reason for those two changes.”

    Liverpool’s defeat at the Brentford Community Stadium dealt a huge blow to their Champions League hopes, leaving fourth-placed Manchester United four points behind, playing a game more.

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