Saturday 19 January 2019

Virgil Van Dijk urges Liverpool to maintain their high standards

The Reds are looking to stay at the top.

Liverpool’s Virgil van Dijk insists they cannot allow the festive programme to derail their title bid (Barrington Coombs/PA).
Liverpool’s Virgil van Dijk insists they cannot allow the festive programme to derail their title bid (Barrington Coombs/PA).

By Carl Markham, Press Association Sport

Liverpool defender Virgil Van Dijk is aware of how quickly things can unravel over a packed festive programme and insists they will not get complacent.

Jurgen Klopp’s side returned to the top of the Premier League table with victory over Manchester United on Sunday but face Wolves, on Friday evening, Newcastle and Arsenal in quick succession before their clash with title rivals Manchester City on January 3.

It means Liverpool’s slender one-point advantage could easily be overhauled before the end of the year if they do not remain on top of their game.

“We are in mid-December and the season is still too long,” said Van Dijk.

“We are very happy we’re in the position that we’re in now but that can change in two or three weeks so we won’t get carried away.

“We’ll try to keep on doing what we’re doing and, obviously, stay confident.

“It (Wolves) is another game we want to win. It’s going to be very tough there. They are in a great moment but so are we so we will have to prepare well and know their strengths and their weaknesses as well.”

Confidence is something they have in goalkeeper Alisson Becker despite his howler against United, dropping the ball at the feet of Jesse Lingard who equalised.

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Alisson Becker was at fault for United’s goal (Peter Byrne/PA)

Such is the strength of spirit in the dressing room, Van Dijk felt comfortable jokingly admonishing the Brazil international afterwards.

“I said to him ‘We have no clean sheet because of you!’ No, I made a joke out of it. He’s been fantastic for us,” he added.

“It happens, everyone makes mistakes. Maybe I didn’t react as well as maybe I could have. It happens sometimes.

“It’s how we react and he did brilliantly in the second half. He didn’t get nervous. We had to all bounce back and we did. I said to him, ‘Just keep going, keep your head up and we’ll be fine.’”

Press Association

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