Virgil van Dijk insists Liverpool are hungry to maintain their early-season form in the next phase of the 2019-20 as they prepare to begin fighting on three fronts.
The Reds’ Champions League and Carabao Cup campaigns will start up in the coming weeks, while Premier League duties resume on Saturday at home to Newcastle United.
Jürgen Klopp’s side currently sit top of the division after claiming maximum points from their opening four matches – and as the squad regroups at Melwood following the international break, Van Dijk’s message is clear.
“We want to keep going – and we want to win every game that is ahead of us now,” he told reporters, as quoted in the Mirror.
“There are seven games before the next international break. We want to win any match, and so seven wins is the target. That’s what we have to try and do.
“It is very hard to say whether the same points total as last season would be enough this time. If you win your games, that is the only way to think.
“We know exactly how good Manchester City will be in the Premier League again this season.
“But there are also the other competitions where we can look to have success. The next few weeks we will be playing Saturday/midweek almost all the time.
“And there are some tough games. We have Chelsea away, and Napoli away in Europe. The League Cup is never easy.
“So we know how tough it is going to be, both this next period and the rest of the season. But we have the mentality and the players to win every game ahead of us.”
Van Dijk added: “It has been a good week, picking up the full complement of six points [with the Netherlands]. And now my focus is on recovery and being ready for Newcastle on Saturday.”
Klopp Unhappy With Penalty Decision
Jurgen Klopp was less than pleased with the penalty decision which helped Napoli to a 2-0 win over his Liverpool side in their Champions League group stage tie on Tuesday night.
Jose Callejon went down in the Liverpool box under minimal pressure from Andrew Robertson, but the well-placed referee gave a spot-kick, and the VAR official decided against overturning the decision.
That allowed Dries Mertens to open the scoring from 12 yards, in a game Liverpool had otherwise been largely comfortable in, and in the dying moments, they added a second goal to seal victory in Naples.
“For me, it’s clear and obvious, no penalty, because Callejon jumps before he has any contact,” Klopp said. “But we cannot change that so we have to be critical with ourselves. We did well in a lot of moments, we played a lot of good football but we didn’t finish off.
“In the second half, we had this wild game, we were running, they were running. They’ve killed everybody on the pitch, started controlling again and then we’ve conceded a penalty.
“Of course that doesn’t help and I’ve seen it now, I don’t think that’s a penalty.”
Klopp was also unhappy with his misfiring forward line, whose link-up play was far below their usual standard and forced only two real saves out of Napoli goalkeeper Alex Meret across the 90 minutes.
Willian Reacts To Barkley Penalty Miss
The Brazilian says his team-mate told him he was confident about scoring but insists he has no ill-feeling towards the England man despite the miss.
Willian has confirmed he asked to take the
crucial penalty which Ross Barkley failed to convert in Chelsea’s Champions League loss to Valencia on Tuesday.
England international Barkley skimmed his attempt off the top of the crossbar in the 87th minute of the Premier League side’s 1-0 home loss.
The midfielder had been introduced from the bench seven minutes earlier and only settled over the spot-kick following a debate with starters Willian and Jorginho.
Blues boss Frank Lampard later revealed
Barkley to be the designated penalty taker but experienced winger Willian had hoped to be entrusted with the chance.
“He was confident about taking it and I asked to take it too,” Willian said. “But he was confident.He ended up missing it.
That could happen to me or any other player, like Jorginho who also takes the penalties. “It is important he keeps his head up.
When you win, you win together and when you lose, you lose together too.”
Barkley’s miss and Rodrigo Moreno’s earlier goal for Valencia contributed to a difficult night for Chelsea, who saw Mason Mount limp out of the contest due to a leg injury after just quarter of an hour of play.
The result left Lampard’s men with work to do ahead of next month’s trip to Ligue 1 side Lille, who were 3-0 losers to Ajax in Group H’s other game.
“We expected a positive result,” Willian said. “We expected to start at home with a victory, but unfortunately we lost it.
We have five games left to qualify. I think we have a chance, of course. “We have to improve and we have to keep our heads up and keep working. We have everything in front of us.
Next up for Chelsea is a testing clash with
Liverpool at Stamford Bridge, where in-form striker Tammy Abraham will be hoping to add to the six Premier League goals he’s scored in his last three matches in the competition.
It remains to be seen how long Mount will be unavailable for, meanwhile, with the Blues due to assess the injury, caused by a nasty challenge from former Arsenal midfielder Francis Coquelin, in the next 48 hours.
Hazard: Real Madrid fans care more than Chelsea fans
Eden Hazard admits he has noticed that Real Madrid fans are more invested than supporters at his former club Chelsea.
The 28-year-old Belgium forward, moved from Chelsea to Real for a reported £130m in the summer after seven years at Stamford Bridge.”
I think that here the fans are really fans,” said Hazard, ahead of Wednesday’s Champions League group game against Paris Saint-Germain.
“In England there are not so many fans, people there like football and everyone, young people, adults, teenagers, are really interested in their football, but they are not so fanatical about their teams.
“At the time I was in Chelsea and we lost, we were disappointed as were the fans, but I never felt it was a disaster.
“When you are at Real Madrid, even if it is my first year, talking to the fans, they always expect you to win the Champions League,” he continued.
“That is why I think there is so much expectation placed on this competition and that is why the club has won it more than any other team.”
Hazard patiently waited for a move away from Chelsea – he first said it could be time to move on after the 2018 World Cup – but that did not stop him speaking of his desire to play for Real while still a Blue.
“When I was at Chelsea, I already knew that my dream was to play for [Real Madrid] someday,” he said.
“I hadn’t expected to play seven years at Chelsea, but in the end everything went well and I had the chance to win something every year. I think that’s why I stayed there so long.”
- Klopp Unhappy With Penalty Decision September 18, 2019
- Willian Reacts To Barkley Penalty Miss September 18, 2019
- Hazard: Real Madrid fans care more than Chelsea fans September 17, 2019
- Draw confirms Liverpool’s 2019 FIFA Club World Cup schedule September 17, 2019
- Defensive Errors Cost Arsenal Against Watford September 16, 2019