Van Dijk says too early for Liverpool title talk
Liverpool defender Virgil van Dijk has dismissed the five-point lead they hold over title rivals Manchester City as irrelevant so early in the season.
Jurgen Klopp’s side briefly extended their advantage to eight points after beating Sheffield United 1-0 in the early kick-off on Saturday but City beat Everton to reduce the gap.
Even though Liverpool have a 100 percent record from their opening seven matches, Van Dijk stressed nobody inside the dressing room was giving it a second thought.
The Reds know from recent experience that the situation can change quickly. They had a seven-point lead over City before the two met at the Etihad Stadium on January 3, only to lose as Pep Guardiola’s side began their fightback.
“It’s far too early. We’re almost in October and the busy period will come,” said the Netherlands captain after Liverpool registered their 16th successive Premier League victory.
“There are still so many games left and the only thing we focus on is the game ahead of us. We don’t want to look at the others because there’s no point doing that.
“Everyone realises that as well because last season we saw how it turned quickly.”
Victory at Bramall Lane also extended the club record for successive away league wins to eight and they have not lost away from Anfield in the league since that defeat at the Etihad nine months ago.
“It’s the media who love statistics,” said Van Dijk. “The reality is we have nothing at the moment. We want to continue to do well and there’s still plenty of room for improvement.”
Saturday’s match-winner Georginio Wijnaldum said Liverpool’s scratchy win at Sheffield United was an example of the progress being made under Klopp.
Last season, when they missed out on a first top-flight title since 1990 by a single point, Liverpool drew seven matches, which included games against West Ham, Leicester and Everton.
“You see we make progress with what we did,” said Wijnaldum. “Back in previous years, we had to play good to win the games. Now we play bad and still win games.”