Could van Dijk be an auxiliary striker under Klopp at Liverpool?

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - JANUARY 05: Virgil van Dijk of Liverpool celebrates as he scores their second goal during the Emirates FA Cup Third Round match between Liverpool and Everton at Anfield on January 5, 2018 in Liverpool, England. (Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images)
LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - JANUARY 05: Virgil van Dijk of Liverpool celebrates as he scores their second goal during the Emirates FA Cup Third Round match between Liverpool and Everton at Anfield on January 5, 2018 in Liverpool, England. (Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images) /
facebooktwitterreddit

While Virgil van Dijk was bought to help solve the side’s issues at the back, could Jurgen Klopp use him as an auxiliary striker for Liverpool?

In an ideal world you are three-nil up at half time and never even have to consider a plan B attacking option. Unfortunately for Liverpool this is not an ideal world as the game against Swansea on Monday proved.

Liverpool are designed to score goals. We have one of the most devastating attacks in Europe. The front three of Sadio Mane, Roberto Firmino and Mohamed Salah combine lightning pace, skill and clinical finishing.

But every so often Liverpool play against a side who is compact, deep and 100% determined not to concede. If Liverpool cannot break them down early then they struggle to find a way through. Monday’s game was only one example; Manchester United, Everton, West Brom, Newcastle and Burnley have all used the same tactic to some success.

Liverpool do not have a typical ‘big man’ striker on the roster. Dominic Solanke can do some of that role but he is more pace than strength and aerial dominance.

That leads to the question would we use Virgil van Dijk as an auxiliary striker late in games? While that seems like a desperate ploy it is not as unbelievable as you may think.

Early in his career van Dijk played primarily as center forward in just the sort of role we are talking about. At his first club Groningen he came off the bench late on games when the Dutch side were looking for a winner.

At Celtic he was the chief free kick taker around the box. He also chipped in with some handy goals. We have already seen in his initial appearances that he is a real threat in the air at set pieces.

Next: This is the back four we want against West Brom

The real question is not could van Dijk do this job – all the evidence says he can – but would Jurgen Klopp be humble enough to do it. He clearly believes in his attacking philosophy but a little of the pragmatism – that German’s are so famous for – could help Liverpool in desperate situations.