Virgil van Dijk is looking to savour every moment of the Reds’ push for silverware in the coming weeks.
Liverpool’s pursuit of more honours this season continues today night when they travel to Benfica for the first leg of their Champions League quarter-final.
The 30 years Van Dijk and his teammates also remain in the hunt for the Premier League and Emirates FA Cup, as the 2021-22 season draws to a potentially spectacular conclusion.
The centre-half previewed the team’s next step on their journey by attending a press conference at the AXA Training Centre on Monday afternoon. continue reading for a summary of his pre-Benfica comments
On Whether He Likes The Game-After-Game Rhythm And Each Game Getting Bigger
Definitely. Maybe the manager said it already in the media, but if you would say at the start of the season that you’d still be in all competitions by this time of the year, also having the full squad that obviously wasn’t really the case last season, we would have taken it easily. I’m just enjoying the moment. We all as football players want to play games, obviously that asks a lot physically from us, but I’m just going for it and I’m enjoying every moment.
On Whether The Team’s Impressive Defensive Record Sometimes Goes ‘Unnoticed Outside Of The Club’…
I must say before the international break in January I did care a little bit that it was going unnoticed. I think I said it in an interview as well that I felt a bit taken for granted, coming back from a long-term injury that everything was sort of normal and everyone expected the same – and it’s not, it’s quite difficult. But after the break I really didn’t and maybe that also helped the performances personally.
At the moment we’re just doing it together, we’re going for it, everyone is playing their part, everyone is involved in it as well. The back four, plus Ali, changes at times. If you look at the cup final with Caoimhin coming in, being the hero in the cup competitions, Kostas [at] left-back, Ibou coming in, Joe coming in now – everyone is getting involved in the success that we have as a defensive unit. But the way we defend is we do it all together and everyone feels a responsibility for that as well.
On Liverpool’s High Defensive Line And How Much Communication Goes Into It.
A lot. It’s been going on since I’ve been at the club. It’s not been highlighted but I think if you look back at the last couple of seasons, we’re always trying to play with a high line. We don’t play an offside but obviously if you can put the player offside, it’s only an advantage.
I think this season and last season, the way they started with the rule that we keep playing on and then the linesman puts the flag up, it looks a bit that we are conceding chances against us – even the other day when obviously Ali had to make the save, it looked like we are vulnerable when he’s offside.
I think that rule, first and foremost, has to get out of the way, but the other thing is the high line. We don’t speak personally a lot about it but on the pitch you definitely have to communicate, but I’m always trying to do that.
On The Netherlands Being Paired With Sadio Mane’s Senegal In The Group Stages Of The 2022 World Cup.
Definitely. I called him after he qualified and I said to him obviously well done and we joked about it that we were going to be in the same group – and it happened. It’s going to be so hard. They are obviously the African champions, fantastic players – and we as well – so it’s going to be tough.
Opening game, 11 o’clock, I don’t know who decided to do [an] 11 o’clock kick-off, to be fair, but it’s going to be difficult. So much respect for Senegal and what they have achieved, but we have to be ready as well.
On Whether Liverpool Look At The Situation As ‘Everything To Gain And Nothing To Lose’.
We don’t look at it that way. I don’t think we’re looking at it that way. We just want to make this season, hopefully, an unforgettable one – for us as players, for the staff, but as a whole club.
The things that have been going on at the moment at Liverpool, it’s something that no-one should take for granted. As a group we are very stable, we have a fantastic squad, with the manager, the whole relationship with the club, the performances – we should just enjoy it.
Go out there, give it your all, and if that’s enough at the end of the season then happy days. If not, then we try again next year. But we shouldn’t take for granted what’s happening at the moment.
On Netherlands Manager Louis van Gaal Revealing He Is Battling Prostate Cancer And Keeping The News Away From His Players During The International Break.
I was also in shock last night when I heard his interview. Obviously he’s getting his film out next week, so I was just wondering how he would promote it a little bit and speak about his life. Obviously then that was a big shock.
Obviously I messaged him after the interview. It definitely says a lot about him. I said to him as well, he’s not that type of guy that needs a lot of sympathy, that’s how he is.
But I told him as well that we are definitely going to be there for him as a group whenever he needs it, and hopefully we can also make it for him a World Cup to never forget.
On Facing Benfica.
They’re in the last eight of the Champions League. So we can say, ‘They are one of the easiest draws’ but they are there for a reason. It’s going to be tough tomorrow night. I watched the game when they played against Barcelona at home, we all obviously analysed them here and it’s going to be difficult.
We have to show them the respect they deserve and it will be tough. For you guys from the outside, you can make whatever you want out of this but it’s going to be tough and we are ready for a tough test.