'Leave Joe alone' - Van Dijk supports Liverpool team-mate Gomez following England boos

The UEFA men's player of the year went in to bat for his Reds team-mate, who copped a negative reaction from fans on international duty

Virgil van Dijk has criticised the booing from England fans directed at his Liverpool team-mate Joe Gomez and has called for everyone to 'leave him alone'.

Gomez was involved in a bust-up with Raheem Sterling at Three Lions training on Monday and received the negative reaction from supporters after coming on as a substitute during the 7-0 win over Montenegro at Wembley on Thursday night.

The clash between the two England colleagues occurred only 24 hours after Gomez's Liverpool knocked off Sterling's Manchester City 3-1 in a pivotal title game, with tension between the pair evident during the 90 minutes.

Van Dijk, who witnessed the unease between the English duo during the Premier League match, called the Three Lions supporter reaction to Gomez 'disappointing', but hopes the incident can be moved on from swiftly and that his Liverpool team-mate is left in peace.

"It's disappointing to see [the Gomez booing]," Van Dijk said ahead of the Netherlands' Euro 2020 qualifier against Northern Ireland.

"I want to say as well it's been dealt with. I think everyone should stop talking about it because it's just a thing that happened. They all sorted it out.

"Everyone needs to move on, leave Joe especially alone. But yes, it was disappointing to see."

With Liverpool creating an eight-point lead at the top of the Premier League table ahead of Leicester City and Chelsea following the win over City, Van Dijk was asked about whether the Reds would end their 30-year wait for a league title.

However, the Dutch centre-half refused to be drawn into the angle and insisted his only focus was on getting to Euro 2020 with a positive result against Northern Ireland at Windsor Park on Saturday.

"I'm not gonna say that [it feels like Liverpool's year]," Van Dijk said.

"It's something for the media. For players the main thing is we focus on the game ahead of us.

"For me personally it's Northern Ireland, it's a tough task. What happens with Liverpool in the future we'll see, we have no influence on it, the season is so long. My focus is on the next game, at the moment that's [with our] national teams."