Virgil van Dijk said it “should not be taken for granted” what Liverpool have been achieving before their Champions League

April 5th, 2022

Virgil van Dijk said it “should not be taken for granted” what Liverpool have been achieving before their Champions League quarter-final with Benfica.

The Reds travel to Lisbon on Tuesday still in contention to win the quadruple this season.

Having already won the Carabao Cup, they sit one point off Premier League leaders Manchester City, who they take on in the FA Cup semi-finals.

“We just want to make this season an unforgettable one,” said Van Dijk.

“If you said it at the start of the season that we would still be in all competitions at this stage, with a full squad, [we’d have taken it].

“We should just enjoy it, go to Lisbon and give it our all. If it’s not enough, we go again next season. The things that are going on at Liverpool should not be taken for granted.”

The Liverpool centre-back, who signed a three-year contract extension in the summer, played just five league games last season after he sustained an anterior cruciate ligament injury in October 2020.

Before his injury he was widely regarded as one of the best defenders in the world and had played a crucial role in Liverpool’s Premier League title win in 2019-20 and Champions League success the season before.

Van Dijk admitted he felt people “expected the same” level from him immediately upon his return this season.

“Before the international break in January, I did care a little bit that it was going unnoticed,” said Van Dijk.

“I felt a bit taken for granted, coming back from a long-term injury, that everything was sort of ‘normal’ – that everyone expected the same.

“But after the break I didn’t and maybe that helped the performances. Everyone is playing their part.”

‘Situation we would have dreamed of’

Trent Alexander-Arnold
Trent Alexander-Arnold started Liverpool’s 1-0 defeat by Inter Milan in the second leg of their last-16 tie at Anfield, which they won 2-1 on aggregate

Jurgen Klopp has a full squad available for Tuesday’s match with midfielder Naby Keita returning, along with defender Trent Alexander-Arnold, who was an unused substitute in Saturday’s league win over Watford.

The Liverpool boss has called on his side to “run like mad” and is expecting “an interesting challenge” from the Portuguese hosts.

“We need desire, mentality and excitement. You can’t buy that,” said Klopp.

“We have played games before when we were 1-0 up and we were still running like mad. I want my players thinking in the right way.

“I don’t think about being better, I think about us being on top of our game. That’s the plan for all the games. You try to improve in general.

“We all know one failure, one little misstep, and at least one competition can be gone. That’s no problem for us, we’re just ready for the next challenge. We enjoy it. It is the situation we would have dreamed of.”


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