Van Dijk – Reds will not dwell on Champions League exit
Van Dijk has insisted that the Reds will not allow their exit from the UEFA Champions League to affect their confidence ahead of their triumph in the 2019/20 Premier League.
Liverpool are just 2 wins away from lifting the domestic trophy for the first time in 30 years and that is what the players will use as a reminder to help them stay motivated and prepare for the Merseyside derby on Monday.
“I think we did everything we could to win the game. We were outstanding for 95 minutes,” said the Holland captain.
“We were intense, we dominated, won the ball, won a lot of second balls and put in a lot of work and heart in the challenges.
“The only thing is we are out of the Champions League. But we are back in on Friday and then everybody has to be ready for another intense game and we will be.
“Let’s go out there and enjoy it and don’t forget why we are 25 points clear at the top.”
Liverpool had 71% of the possession in the game against Atletico Madrid, 34 shots of which 11 were on target alongside 16 corners. However, Atletico shot-stopper Jan Oblak inspired his side with numerous key saves to keep out the Reds until extra-time where the visitors stole the win.
“We dominated the game and had the intensity that they had to deal with but they had an outstanding goalkeeper and he kept them alive,” added Van Dijk.
“He pulled off some great saves and we tried everything. The difference was their goalkeeper. He was outstanding.”
Liverpool will now focus on the trip to Goodison Park to face Carlo Ancelotti’s Everton in the Merseyside derby on Monday amid fears that games could be played behind closed doors due to the coronavirus pandemic. Although Van Dijk added that players were not satisfied with closing grounds, medical advice must prevail.
“I think the main thing is football should be played with fans. We play also for the fans, the fans pay to come and support us,” said the Dutchman.
“But it is not their decision, it is not our decision, the decision is going to be made by the government, Premier League and until that decision is made we just have to wait and see. If the decision is made, accept it.
“We need to get a good result at Goodison Park. That is going to be very tough.
“They are not in the best moment either so we will try everything to get a good result but we know how difficult it will be.”