Following Liverpool’s 3-0 win over Norwich City, Virgil van Dijk believes that if everyone within Jurgen Klopp’s squad can stay fit, then the Reds have a chance of challenging for the title. They had finished third in the 2020/21 season, despite a serious injury crisis affecting the squad.
With Liverpool finishing third last season, 17 points behind champions Manchester City, many expected the Reds to pick up their end of season form this term. The club finished the 2020/21 season on a nine-game unbeaten run to surge into the top-four, and they’ve continued that run after the first game of this season. Goals from Diogo Jota, Robert Firmino and Mohamed Salah ensured a 3-0 win over Norwich City in the club’s first Premier League game.
It also saw Virgil van Dijk make his comeback from injury alongside Joel Matip with the duo impressing as center-backs. But in light of his comeback, Van Dijk believes that if everyone within the team can stay fit, then the Reds have a chance to competing for the title. The Dutch international also added that the “only thing we can focus on” right now is the next game and that’s what they need to do.
"The only thing we can focus on is the next game. It's exciting to see the Premier League like this, all the players coming back, and I enjoy it. Thinking about our own team, if we stay fit, we have a good chance to be up there. To play against world-class strikers again and world-class teams, and when you can't predict where you will be at the end of the season, it's exciting,” Van Dijk told Sky Sports.
Van Dijk was one of three players to suffer long-term injuries last season, alongside Joe Gomez and Joel Matip, with a knee injury in October ruling him for the remainder of the term. This was the defender’s first Premier League game since then and he admitted that its been a tough time being out and recovering from an injury. The 30-year-old also added that it’s been tough on him mentally but it’s been nice to come through a tough time and be able to play their game.
"The first day of training with the group, you need to get back into normal habits, like shouting at people. It's just repetitions of normal habits. I made great steps in pre-season and this is another big step, so hopefully I can keep that going. Mentally it's tough. One day you're fully fit, the next you're full of medication and in pain.
“Everyone has their opinion [on what happened] and you read those things because you have nothing to do. [We had] more injuries in key positions so couldn't play our game, the way we want to play, with high pressure. The guys did a fantastic job to come through it. Hopefully we can build on it and stay fit because we can't take that for granted either,” he added.