Liverpool rediscovering fear factor, says Van Dijk
Virgil van Dijk believes Liverpool are close to rediscovering the fear factor that made the club such a dominant force for nearly two decades as they target European glory.
Between 1973 and 1990 the Reds claimed 11 league titles and a quartet of European Cups, all four won in an eight-season spell.
Liverpool, who will face Tottenham in the Champions League final in Madrid on June 1, was the most feared side on the continent and the benchmark for the rest of Europe.
The Anfield side fell behind domestic and European rivals but Tuesday’s remarkable 4-3 aggregate win over Barcelona secured back-to-back Champions League finals and Van Dijk believes they are starting to re-establish their standing in the game.
“Hopefully. That’s something we work towards,” said the Dutch captain. “I feel that (Manchester) City already have that bit of status because they have been dominating last year so much.
“Hopefully we can keep going and make it very difficult for any team in the world.
“We have a great age group. Between 20 and 27, 28, so hopefully we can do it all together for the next couple of years at least and grow as a team and hopefully get a lot of success.”
With a place in Madrid secured, Liverpool, who last won the Champions League in 2005, still have an outside chance of winning their first domestic title since 1990.
They need to beat Wolves on Sunday and hope City drop points at Brighton to pip their rivals in an extraordinarily tight title race.
“If it happens, it happens. We have no influence on that. They have it in their hands,” added the Professional Footballers’ Association player of the year.
“We’re still in this season and still anything is possible. If it doesn’t happen then it’s not the end of the world. We’ve had a fantastic season, both of us. Man City have been outstanding as well.”
Despite the position they are in, Van Dijk insists there is no pressure to win a trophy for validation of what is happening under Jurgen Klopp, who has lost his past six finals.
“Different teams in the world have a real urgency to win the Champions League and if they don’t it’s a real failure to their season,” he said.
“I don’t think we should think of it as a failure if we don’t win the Champions League.
“It’s not like we had a terrible season or we failed this season. It’s just the start and hopefully, we can try to do this every year.”
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