Virgil van Dijk responds to Arne Slot Liverpool talks as team meeting held after 'unacceptable' Everton loss

Virgil van Dijk has given his backing for Arne Slot to succeed Jurgen Klopp as Liverpool manager.

Reds bosses opened negotiations with Feyenoord on Wednesday as they ramp up efforts to appoint a successor to the German, who confirmed in January that he would leave the club at the end of the season.

Slot has become strongly fancied by the Anfield hierarchy, and while he is not the only candidate, Liverpool have now made their move for the Dutchman.

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And speaking after the Reds’ Merseyside derby defeat to Everton, Van Dijk was full of praise for his compatriot.

“I think Slot is one of the better Dutch coaches at the moment,” Van Dijk told ViaPlay. "With the way he plays and the philosophy he has, he can be a Liverpool coach.

“But I read and hear that it is far from complete. We shall see. We will focus on that next season, but that is still a long way off.”

Meanwhile, Van Dijk conceded that the manner of Liverpool’s defeat to Everton was unacceptable and that they don’t deserve to win the league following another disappointing display.

“Game likes these, the bare minimum is fight,” he said in the mixed zone. “We were lacking that at so many moments in games; small challenges, some passes that were not clear so we came into challenges that they win and they get momentum out of it.

“They were having I don't know how many set pieces. That could make a difference because it's a strength of theirs.

“But we have to look in the mirror and each and every one of us has to think like... listen, you can't accept this. You can't accept the way we let our season end.

“If you play like we did today, obviously even if we create two or three clear-cut chances again, you don't deserve to win the league. If we play like today and let it slip like today then you shouldn't even think about it.

“So now it's time to record and pick ourselves up again because we have to do it for ourselves, the club and the fans. It's not only that you go out there and play your game, you have to do much more than that.

Asked why he thinks Liverpool have lost form at the business end of the season, Van Dijk put it down to a number of factors, before insisting the Reds can’t let their season finish like this.

“Obviously it's a mix of everything. You can't put a finger on it,” he said. “it's confidence, inexperience, challenges, maybe afraid to make mistakes in this part of the season.

“I don't know. It's a mix but it brings us to the situation where we can't accept this.

“We had talks with the team and everyone is agreeing but on match day, that's where it counts. It's a disappointing night for all of us and we have to look at ourselves and can't accept this, turn around and finish on as much as we can.”

He continued: “As everyone at the start of the season would say, no one put us even close to where we are right now. We kept doing our thing, playing games, finding ways to win, even with red cards, even with last-minute winners.

“We kept doing that and that's our big credit. But now it's crunch time and we've not been good enough in the way we finished the chances off, in the way we defended together and also the fight.

“We can't have groups who are blaming each other because that's not how it works. It's a team thing and I don't blame anyone. I blame us as a team, as a group, and we have to much better.

“It starts with defending and like always, starts from the front and goes to the back. That's how we have always been doing it. We have to get much better at that again. Then also offensively the same, it starts from us at the back and finishing the chances.

“I think we have to show much more. I still think that Fulham second half was very good in the way we showed a reaction but today there's more to ask from us.

“I've been through many things in life and I will pick myself up and the team. That's the responsibility I have. It will be fine.

“Tomorrow we're going to be back [in], we have a meeting together and show the reaction against West Ham.

“Obviously when we have a bad result, we always speak about showing a reaction but now we can't just accept it. We can't just accept the fact that we're going to let the season go by like this. It's just disappointing.

“What I've said already, everyone has to look in the mirror, come back tomorrow and we can't let the season end like this.”