Virgil van Dijk has predicted that Liverpool have “challenging times” ahead of them, insisting “everyone wants to see you fall when you reach the top”. Liverpool’s long-awaited return to English football’s summit finally came to fruition back in June as Jurgen Klopp delivered the club’s first league title in three decades.
The Reds blew away their main domestic rivals last season, but have since had to adjust to being the hunted rather than the hunters.
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The likes of Manchester City, Chelsea, Tottenham, Arsenal, and Manchester United all have eyes on Liverpool’s throne, while a few surprise title contenders have also emerged at the start of the 2020-21 campaign.
Everton, Aston Villa, Leicester City, and Leeds United look set to upset the established order amid the continued absence of supporters in stadiums, with consistency suddenly proving elusive for the top clubs. Klopp’s men have also been unable to stave off complacency, as evidenced by a shocking 7-2 defeat away at Villa on Sunday.
That result has sparked suggestions of an open race for this season’s Premier League crown, and Van Dijk acknowledges the fact that Liverpool will have to face new obstacles in their bid to usher in a sustained period of dominance. “I think trying to stay at the top is the hardest thing to do,” he told Eddie Hearn’s ‘No Passion No Point’ podcast on BBC Sounds. “Everyone wants to see you fall when you reach the top.
“That is what life is about, especially these days. For me, I want to give everything I have got until I retire and then have no regrets after. “I don’t want any regrets afterward, I think that would be the worst feeling you can have. It is going to be challenging times coming up. We are champions – something that took a while.
“We should enjoy the moment and go for it. “Van Dijk went on to admit that he misses the famous Anfield atmosphere, as well as the extra motivation that used to come with trying to silence rival supporters in away games.
“The fans can play a massive part in difficult times during games and also at good times in games,” the Liverpool defender added. “When you concede the fans will lift you and when you score they make the opponent go further away from you.
“It’s the same case for everyone, but for us in particular everyone knows how difficult it is to play at Anfield with the fans behind us. Hopefully, things can change as soon as possible because we need fans. “It lifts our performances at home but when you play away and the home fans turn against you – I like that.”It gives you that motivation sometimes to do better. It’s something I definitely enjoy and that I miss.”