The Reds boss has confirmed that the squad conducted a new vote to determine the leaders of the team in wake of Gini Wijnaldum’s departure last summer
Jurgen Klopp says Liverpool have three new ‘captains’ within their squad, although Mohamed Salah isn’t among them after his request for the armband was turned down last year.
The Reds squad conducted a new vote to determine their lesser leaders in the wake of Gini Wijnaldum’s departure for Paris Saint-Germain this summer.
The Dutchman was seen as Liverpool’s fourth-choice captain behind senior skipper Jordan Henderson, vice-captain James Milner and third-choice Virgil van Dijk following a vote the squad took part in a couple of years ago.
In the wake of Liverpool’s injury issues last season, particularly those that befell Van Dijk and Henderson, Wijnaldum was often required to take the armband when starting games ahead of the veteran Milner.
Despite it becoming increasingly obvious that Wijnaldum was about to leave, there were no issues over his status within the squad as the midfielder had earned the right to be skipper in what is a democratic process.
Klopp confirmed that a new vote has recently taken place when he spoke before Liverpool’s Champions League trip to Porto, and said that three players have now stepped up.
“We had the three who stayed, and then the players voted for another three,” said Klopp.
“The three [who stayed] are obviously Hendo, Millie and Virg, and then the next most votes were Trent [Alexander-Arnold], Robbo [Andy Robertson] and Alisson Becker.
“Obviously we had a problem last year from time to time that so many players couldn’t play that we had no-one in the players’ committee available [to captain], so I thought it made sense to increase this group a little bit, and that’s what we did.”
With the vote determined by the players there is no reason for other senior figures such as Salah to feel upset, and nor is there any suggestion that the Egyptian is unhappy with the result.
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However, last December he told Spanish newspaper AS that he was “very disappointed” to have missed out on wearing the armband for Liverpool’s Champions League trip to FC Midtjylland in Denmark, where Klopp fielded a shadow side with the Reds having already qualified for the knockout stages.
“Honestly, I was very disappointed,” was reported to have said.
“I was hoping to be the captain, but it’s a coach’s decision. I accept it.”
Local lad Alexander-Arnold was the captain on that occasion, with Salah scoring Liverpool’s opening goal in the 1-1 draw.
Henderson (four times), Milner and Van Dijk have all already captained Liverpool in the Premier League this season, with Joe Gomez donning the armband when a much changed Reds side beat Norwich in the Carabao Cup.