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    Saturday, 7 November 2020

    Mohamed Salah on watershed Liverpool moment after humiliation and losing Van Dijk

    The Egypt international has been speaking about how the squad coped without Van Dijk to help them

    Mohamed Salah.

    Mohamed Salah admits adjusting without Virgil van Dijk was a difficult process for Liverpool because of how the team was structured to play with the centre-back.

    Van Dijk played in every Liverpool match for two successive seasons in the Premier League, making 100 appearances for the Reds in the process in all competitions before he was forced to have an operation on a knee injury recently.

    Van Dijk is not expected to feature prominently this term because of the ACL issue sustained from a shocking challenge by Jordan Pickford in the Merseyside derby draw with Everton on October 17.

    The £75million man underwent a successful surgery in London earlier this month, but faces an arduous road to recovery before he is cleared to play any further part.

    Despite the absence of the 2019 Ballon d'Or runner up, the Reds have been in good form, winning all five of their matches since Van Dijk was hurt.

    Salah said it was tough adapting to games without the most expensive player in the club's history given how the side are set up to defend with Dutch captain Van Dijk in the back four.

    "The situation was difficult at the beginning," Salah told beIN SPORTS. "Especially that he had played all the matches since he joined the team three years ago, and the defence plan is built around him.

    "But at the same time, we had to deal with his absence. Thank God that the young players showed confidence, as seen in recent matches.

    "Even when Fabinho moved back and was injured, the young players did well, with help from the senior players, who boosted their spirits and confidence."

    After the jarring 7-2 defeat to Aston Villa on October 4, the Reds picked up seven points from nine to resume their place at the top of the Premier League prior to this weekend's round of fixtures.

    Liverpool can go back to top of the table with victory on Sunday at Manchester City before another international break begins.

    And Salah has explained how the Liverpool squad were able to remain calm after the club's heaviest defeat for 57 years at Villa Park.

    He added: "I believe we were able to stand on our feet again. After that loss, we drew once and won four or five other matches.

    "It was not easy, especially with Virgil's injury , but thank God we were able to return to our normal position and to win all the matches.

    "In the end, we accepted what happened.

    "A loss is a loss, regardless of the number of goals you concede, but it was difficult for us to lose 0-7 when we are champions of England and the holders of the UEFA Champions League title two years ago.

    "When you face such a situation, you have two options: to sit down and lament what happened or to move forward and create a positive reaction. We took the second option."

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