'I’m protecting my team-mates' - Van Dijk explains Sokratis confrontation

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Sokratis went to confront Salah during halftime but Van Dijk stepped up and defended his teammate in what seemed to be a quarrel between the two players.

The Greece worldwide was fuming at what he felt was a dive by the Liverpool forward after what appeared to only be minimal contact between the two players.

Van Dijk has arguably been one of the most important factors in Liverpool's current impressive lead in the title race, offering stability and a commanding presence at the heart of defence.

"But when it comes to the bigger games, against the more attacking teams, it's very problematic playing with him".

Porto already want to give Brazilian worldwide new deal to remove the relatively low buy-out clause and to increase his salary so he is not tempted to move on after just a few months.

Mesut Ozil has categorically ruled out a January loan move and is fully intent on winning back his starting position in the Arsenal team, sources close to the player have told ESPN FC.

"I'm protecting my teammates and that's normal, that's how everyone should react and that's what we all need to do, to back each other".

He added: "We were nearly ideal, we conceded the goal and that was the only thing. That was the only thing", said Van Dijk.

"After this we can now focus on the City game". It's the first game of the year and on Tuesday we want to beat Fulham at home.

The sight of his defenders chasing shadows and failing in their attempts to constrain Liverpool's thrilling front three will have made painful viewing for Spanish manager Emery and came just three days after Stephan Lichtsteiner's mistake had gifted Brighton an equaliser in the 1-1 draw at the Amex Stadium.

"A lot of the matches when we play in the second half, for example, with [Alex] Iwobi, it helps us with a different situation tactically and helps us to win the matches".

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