July 24, 2022
Virgil van Dijk admits Liverpool injury and ‘intense’ Manchester United claim

Virgil van Dijk says his career-threatening knee injury has made him appreciate Liverpool’s season even more as their four-pronged quest continues.

And the Dutch captain has sent a message to the club’s fans as a potentially trophy-laden few weeks focus on Anfield. A 3-2 victory over Manchester City at Wembley on Saturday afternoon will see Jurgen Klopp’s men contest the FA Cup final next month after already lifting the Carabao Cup in late February in a penalty shoot-out success against Chelsea .

Van Dijk watched from the substitutes’ bench on Wednesday night as the Reds won a third Champions League semi-final of Jurgen Klopp’s reign against Benfica too and the Reds will now entertain Villarreal in the first leg of the last four on 27 april. A second Premier League title in three seasons also remains a possibility with leaders City just one point away with seven games to go.

After missing 10 months of competition between October 2020 and August 2021 with an ACL injury in a 2-2 draw with Everton, Van Dijk was forced to undergo surgery in London ahead of a lengthy recovery process. rehabilitation last season.

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Van Dijk, whose appearance at Wembley was his 42nd season at Liverpool, insists he is making sure he enjoys it even more in the wake of this debilitating setback. The £75m centre-back also called on the club’s supporters to savor the coming weeks for themselves as a potentially unprecedented quest for all four trophies comes to a boil.

He said: “I wasn’t a great player back then. I was quite late, that’s why I enjoy my career even more. Every day I take it as it is. Enjoy- in. For me, coming back from injury too, having seen it all from the touchline last year, being in all competitions is always something I won’t take for granted.

“I’ve played almost 50 games this season so it’s something I won’t take for granted. I just want to keep going, stay fit, win games and see what it brings and also prepare for the World Cup. .

“Normally in the first six months of the season you play every three days, but you don’t play the biggest opponents every three days, but it’s something you should enjoy, something we should all enjoy.

“Tuesday’s game (against Manchester United) is going to be intense against our rivals, we also need the fans to be here with us, enjoy it and we will give it our all. That’s what we can promise until the end. of the season and whatever happens, we’ll see.”

Asked if lifting the Premier League title behind closed doors in July 2020 gave further motivation for the rest of the campaign, Van Dijk said having supporters this year has provided Liverpool with the support it needs to thrive.

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“We are Liverpool, we are everywhere,” he added. “I’ve seen that over the years. What happened today was that we had such a good vibe, it was expected. We don’t take it for granted. Let’s go for it. rest of the season.

“We need everyone, home games, away games. Enjoy it, it’s quite special what’s happening. I hope we all remember those moments in 10 or 20 years when we look back.

“We’ve said it many times, we’re focused on the game ahead of us. It really is, all this talk about the quadruple or the hat-trick is coming from the outside world and could put extra pressure on us. did the quadruple, there’s a reason for that – because it’s almost impossible to do.

“We’re in for a good time, we’ve come to the final now for a trophy that we haven’t won as a group. So we’ll see what that brings. We’re now focused on recovery and preparation for United because it’s going to be a tough game.”

Van Dijk also reserved a word of praise for Ibrahima Konate, who scored his third goal in as many games in the 3-2 win over City on Saturday afternoon. The 22-year-old has settled in well on Merseyside following his £36m summer move from RB Leipzig and Van Dijk says his team-mate is improving every day.

“He looks quite impressive for his age,” Van Dijk said. “He is very mature but there is still a lot to learn for him. Everyone can still improve. He has such a good mentality, he wants to learn, he wants to improve and we are just happy that the players who have come have adapted so well Luis Diaz [was] incredible first half also with the impact he had. We will continue. We need everyone until the end of the season.”

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