Date: 30th April 2021 at 5:39am
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The influence of Virgil van Dijk at the heart of Liverpool’s defence has been highlighted by his absence this season, with the Reds struggling defensively without the Dutchman. 

The 29-year-old was signed from Southampton in 2018 and played crucial roles in Liverpool’s back-to-back Champions League and Premier League triumphs.

However, with Van Dijk and Joe Gomez both injured for the majority of this campaign, Liverpool have struggled to defend their maiden Premier League title and now face a battle to qualify for next season’s Champions League.

Despite his absence on the pitch, it appears that Van Dijk has still been having a major influence on his side.

Speaking to the club’s official website, loanee Ozan Kabak explained how the Dutch international has been offering him advice.

Kabak has impressed of late after overcoming a nervy start to his Anfield career.

“Virgil gave me tips about out football mentality,” he said.

“As a defender, you have to smell the danger and you need to see it before it happens.

“That is something that he does very well.

“I think defenders understand each other better and he came to me with some small tips about how we play or what I need to do It helps my game.”

It is believed that the club are weighing up a number of central defenders ahead of the transfer window opening this summer, with Kabak on the shortlist.

The Turkey international has struck up a good partnership with Nat Phillips, and has helped to keep six clean sheets in his 13 games for the club so far.

Kabak was a deadline day loan signing from Schalke in January, and it is understood that the club have the option to make the deal permanent if they choose to do so.

Liverpool apparently want to ensure they have sufficient cover for next season when Gomez and Van Dijk return.

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