The inside tale of Liverpool’s dramatic response to George Floyd’s murder, titled “Unity is Strength.”
When it all transpired, an enraged Virgil van Dijk could only watch from afar.
The Liverpool defender was deeply affected by the shooting of an unarmed black man by a white police officer in Minnesota.
The aftermath of George Floyd’s murder, thousands of miles distant from the Dutchman’s home in Merseyside, had the same effect.
Derek Chauvin assassinated Mr Floyd on May 25, 2020, while he was in police custody.
The father-of-four was pinned down by a knee on his neck for the final nine minutes and 29 seconds of his life.
He spent his final minutes crying for aid and struggling for air.
It was a shocking incident that shook the entire planet.
As a result of the outpouring of public outrage in Minneapolis, Memphis, and elsewhere in response to the assassination, Van Dijk felt compelled to speak up.
Gini Wijnaldum, a Liverpool teammate, felt the same way.
Van Dijk and Wijnaldum had a meeting with James Milner and club captain Jordan Henderson as Liverpool prepared to resume Premier League play.
Inside the Reds’ squad, the four players are known as Jurgen Klopp’s captains’ leadership committee.
The Liverpool squad was firmly focused on a first championship in three decades at the beginning of June last year, with ‘Project Restart’ on the horizon and a title to be won.
However, some things are more vital than others.
A training game at Anfield was determined to be the ideal occasion to convey a single, powerful message about where they stood in the aftermath of Mr Floyd’s death.
“The four players finessed an idea between them and then brought it to the rest of the team,” says one senior Anfield source.
“It was very much driven by the players and it was arranged and executed by them as well.”
It was decreed that if the entire team felt the same, a collective stance should be taken.
After all, as the subsequent message would state, unity is strength.
So before the inter-squad, behind-closed-doors game would take place at Anfield on June. Summary ends.