Belfast Telegraph

Adrian a safe pair of hands for Pool, says Van Dijk

Liverpool v Chelsea, Uefa Super Cup, Besiktas Park, Istanbul, Tonight, 8.00pm

Thrown in: Adrian will make his first start for Liverpool
Thrown in: Adrian will make his first start for Liverpool

By Simon Peach

Adrian could scarcely ask for a bigger stage on which to make his first Liverpool start, but the experienced goalkeeper has been backed by Virgil van Dijk to prove his worth in the Uefa Super Cup.

Eyebrows were raised last week when the 32-year-old joined the Reds on a free transfer, with the former West Ham goalkeeper replacing Simon Mignolet as back-up to Alisson.

Adrian has had precious little time to settle into his new surroundings, though, as Alisson sustained a calf complaint against Norwich in Friday's Premier League opener.

The Spaniard produced a solid display after his 39th-minute introduction and is set to make his first start against Chelsea in Istanbul, where Van Dijk backed his new team-mate to impress.

"Adrian has been in for his second week," the Holland captain said. "Since then, we have been working day in, day out.

"It is good for him that he is playing straight away. It is not the situation that he would hope for, after Alisson gets injured.

"He is experienced enough to go out and show his qualities. He has plenty of qualities. He played so many years in the Premier League and you can already see in training how good he can be.

"He needs our support as we defend together. He needs us and we need him. He will do the job."

Jurgen Klopp must also decide whether to start Sadio Mane after an intense summer with Senegal at the Africa Cup of Nations.

Asked about his fitness, the forward said: "Yes, I think I am ready. Time is scarce."

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