There is a change of guard at Anfield as Virgil Van Dijk has been appointed as the new captain of Liverpool and Trent Alexander-Arnold as vice-captain.
This became a necessity following the departure of Jordan Henderson and James Milner, who joined Al Ettifaq and Brighton respectively.
Henderson was captain of Liverpool from the 10th of July, 2015 till he officially departed Anfield on the 27th of July, 2023.
The Englishman enjoyed a glorious reign as he led the Reds to several successes, including; 1 UEFA Champions League title, 1 UEFA Super Cup and 1 FIFA Club World Cup.
Jordan Henderson also led Liverpool to the Premier League title in the 2019/20 season, halting a 30-year wait for the English top-flight title.
The exit of James Milner this summer, following the expiration of his deal with the English giants also necessitated the need for a vice-captain.
Virgil Van Dijk as earlier revealed has been handed the huge mantle of leadership to captain the club, henceforth, while academy graduate Alexander Arnold has been selected as Milner’s replacement.
Van Dijk joined Liverpool on the 1st of January, 2018 from Southampton for a fee of €84.65 million.
The Dutchman has made 222 appearances for Liverpool, scoring 19 goals and providing 12 assists across all competitions.
Van Dijk spot in the starting XI of Liverpool looks unshakable
Virgil Van Dijk has been a key-part of Jurgen Klopp’s setup and he has also helped the club immensely.
Following his arrival in January, 2018 the defender was impenetrable as he produced outstanding performances which led Liverpool to the 2018/19 UEFA Champions League title.
Despite struggling in recent seasons due to injuries, the 32-year-old is one of Klopp’s go-to men in defense.
Due to his contributions in the 2018/19 season, he was awarded several individual honors, including; the Premier League Player of the Season award, UEFA Men’s Player of the Year and UEFA Champions League Defender of the Season.
The former Celtic defender was also included in UEFA’s team of the year for 2018, 2019 and 2020.
Virgil Van Dijk was unavailable for a period of over a month due to a hamstring problem in the 2022/23 season and in the past was missed for nearly the most part of the 2020/21 season due to a cruciate ligament injury.
Following his appointment as captain, Virgil Van Dijk told Liverpool’s website that today, July 31, is really a proud day for him.
Virgil Van Dijk feels proud to be the new captain of Liverpool
“A really proud day for me, for my wife, for my kids, my family. It’s been a special feeling”, he said.
Van Dijk expressed that being handed the armband will spur him to do all he can in defending the Reds’ badge.
He said: “It’s just something that makes me very proud and I will do everything in my power to make everyone proud and happy with me and the football club.”
The Dutchman has also been captain of his country, Netherland since he was handed the armband prior to the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar.
That has ultimately earned him enough pedigree to be chosen by Jurgen Klopp as his new captain.
Virgil Van Dijk will become the first defender to captain Liverpool since Sami Hyypia left the role in 2003.
Trent Alexander-Arnold: The New Vice-captain of Liverpool
Meanwhile, whenever the situation arises that Virgil Van Dijk is absent from the starting lineup next season, Trent Alexander-Arnold will captain the Merseyside based club.
The Englishman made his Liverpool debut on the 25th of October 2016 and he has gone on to make 273 appearances for the club, scoring 16 goals and providing 72 assists across all competitions.
Alexander-Arnold has also been instrumental to the Red’s success in recent years, being a focal part of the club’s attack despite being a defender.
However, the 2022/23 season wasn’t one of his best at Anfield and it resulted in many questioning his position at the club.
Many called for him to be moved into midfield due to his seeming frailties in defense which had a graven effect in Liverpool not qualifying for the Champions League.
Anyway, Alexander-Arnold recovered well in the dying embers of the season and he is expected to feature regularly in the 2023/24 season.
The 24-year-old scored 4 goals and provided 10 assists in 47 appearances last season across all competitions.