Jurgen Klopp has revealed that he made the “spontaneous decision” to give Virgil van Dijk his Liverpool debut on the morning of the Merseyside derby.
Van Dijk joined Liverpool on January 1, and made his debut in the FA Cup third-round tie with Everton four days later.
He netted the winner in a 2-1 win from a corner to seal a successful bow for the club.
Klopp says that the Dutchman was not intended to play at all, but that he decided to start him on the morning of the game.
“It was not a tough decision, it was only a spontaneous decision,” he told the club’s official end-of-season DVD.
“In the morning, I actually thought he will not play. But we had one session in the morning and I came out on the pitch and [said], ‘Ah, come on, why not?’
“It’s not that I didn’t want him to play obviously, we bought him so we wanted him to play. But it was the first game, against Everton, if something goes the wrong direction it’s not a cool start and we want a good start for him.
“But then I thought he’s ready for it, so we did it and it was a genius decision!
“He scored the first goal, in front of the Kop, so that’s not too bad.”