Van Dijk denies Sadio Mane exit is behind Liverpool slump this season

Liverpool defender Virgil van Dijk has rejected the claim that Sadio Mane’s summer departure from the club has contributed to the team’s poor start to the new campaign.

The Reds languish in 11th in the league standings having won just two out of their opening eight matches of the campaign. That form has led to Jurgen Klopp ruling his team out of the race for the Premier League crown.

Many have been attempting to find a reason behind the Reds’ current malaise with some suggesting that Mane’s summer departure for Bayern Munich has been a major contributing factor considering the stuttering form of Liverpool’s attack.

Having had that suggestion put to him, Van Dijk did not agree and said that the Reds will be back to their free-flowing best sooner than later.

Speaking with Sky Sports, he said: “That’s funny, but I don’t think it’s that personally. Obviously Sadio was a massive player for us, but he wanted to leave, it’s not that we wanted to let him go.

“We have players that have come in. Luis Diaz, outstanding. Darwin is getting to know how we really want to defend from the front and the importance of when we have the ball and when we don’t have the ball. It takes a bit of time in this case, but I don’t think that’s the exact reason why we are not performing.”

Since leaving Anfield for the Allianz Arena, Mane has had a rollercoaster start to life with his new team. He has eight goals in 15 games but has gone through a six-game spell without finding the net – that form leading to questions about his suitability to the German giants.

While Van Dijk does not think Mane’s exit is the reason behind Liverpool’s slump this campaign, the Dutchman has conceded that he is struggling to find a definitive cause.

He added: “Difficult start. It’s difficult to find a direct reason for it. It could be multiple things, but I have no idea exactly why, and there is no point for us to think about why those games didn’t go as well as we wanted.

“We want to improve it now, and in order to do that we have to work each and every day in training, and fight for each yard in the games, and try to win them.

“That’s what we try to do, and I feel and I still think that we are going to be there, because we have the quality of players. We’ll keep working, we’ll keep improving, and hopefully we can turn it around.”

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