Virgil van DijkVirgil van Dijk joined Liverpool from Southampton in January 2018

Virgil van Dijk says he can appreciate why there are “doubts” over Liverpool’s prospects for the new season.

Six senior players departed Anfield this summer including Jordan Henderson, Van Dijk’s predecessor as captain.

Pre-season results have been mixed, with a defensive midfielder yet to arrive after three failed bids for Southampton’s Romeo Lavia.

“I can definitely understand it [fans’ negativity] in some ways but I’m not a very negative person,” Van Dijk said.

“But obviously when a lot of players are leaving, when your captain is leaving, your vice-captain is leaving, and at the moment there are only two incomings.

“And the way we have been playing, in possession really good but defensively when you concede goals it’s not as good, I can understand some people having doubts.”

Liverpool have signed midfielders Alexis Mac Allister and Dominik Szoboszlai, but they are the only two arrivals so far.

The departures of Henderson, Fabinho, Naby Keita, James Milner and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain have not only left the Reds light on numbers but lacking in experience in the middle of the pitch.

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Thiago Alcantara and Stefan Bajcetic have not featured since last season as they continue to recover from injuries while Cody Gakpo has been utilised in midfield in pre-season by Jurgen Klopp to counter the lack of players available.

The Netherlands defender Van Dijk, 32, said Liverpool’s players would be determined to fight for trophies this season but acknowledged the size of the task.

He added: “It will be very tough if we look at the teams around us, but we want to be up there again, we want to be challenging again.

“We have to be confident, we should be confident and we should still be learning each and every day. There have been characters leaving, players who have played a big part in the success, but others have to step up.

“That’s a nice challenge in my opinion. We should be excited. I’m very excited, so let’s give it a go.”

‘Liverpool fans are angry and rightly so’

Jordan Chamberlain, Empire of the Kop

FSG have yet again let Liverpool down.

In a summer that was supposed to feature the biggest rebuild of their tenure, 17 Premier League clubs have bought more players than the Reds.

Jordan Henderson and Fabinho have left and no experienced defensive midfielders have arrived. The defence in pre-season has been shambolic, yet no defenders have signed either.

Jurgen Klopp has brilliant attackers, Alexis Mac Allister and Dom Szoboszlai are exciting buys, but it is nowhere near enough. Now, we’re rushing to get overpriced players who will not get the benefit of the pre-season to acclimatise.

What’s the plan? It increasingly feels like there is not one. We obviously took the £52m in total for Henderson and Fabinho without incomers lined up. That is poor, from a club who were once unbeatable in the transfer market.

Liverpool fans are angry, and rightly so.

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