Liverpool were delighted with their response to a tough start at Newcastle United, with Virgil van Dijk quickly turning focus to 2020-21.
Virgil van Dijk is looking forward to the “new challenge” of the 2020-21 Premier League season after Liverpool concluded their title-winning campaign with a win.
The Reds coasted to the title and ended with a club-record 99 points thanks to a 3-1 victory at Newcastle United on the final day.
Champions Liverpool trailed to Dwight Gayle’s 25th-second opener, yet Van Dijk, Divock Origi and Sadio Mane made sure Jurgen Klopp’s side ended the season in style.
The next campaign is just weeks away, with the Premier League returning on September 12, and Van Dijk was already turning his attention towards a title defence.
“It’s been a big dream of mine coming true,” the defender told BT Sport. “For all of us, for this beautiful club, it’s outstanding.
“It should spur us on to try even harder to retain the title. It’s going to be very tough. Teams are going to improve, going to want to beat us even more, but we’ll focus on each game at a time. That’s what we did this season.
“Hopefully we can be as consistent as we were this season. It’s going to be a new challenge, but we shall look forward to that as well.
“If I’m talking personally, I don’t think I need any more motivation. I want to go out there every opportunity there is, trying to get results together with the boys and enjoying the game.
“The second half I really enjoyed, how we played, how we pressed the ball when we lost it. That’s the key for next season as well.
“We want to improve on the way we play and be as consistent as we have been this year. It’s going to be hard, because I think consistency is the hardest thing in football. But it’s going to be a nice challenge.”
Despite Liverpool’s sloppy start, conceding the fastest goal in their Premier League history, Van Dijk was delighted with the response at St James’ Park.
“It was an outstanding game, I think,” he said. “In the second half especially, we played amazing football, we created chances and it’s a well deserved win.
“It’s a good feeling to go into a little break. Hopefully we’ll be all fresh and ready to go for the new season in a couple of weeks.”
Klopp concurred with his star centre-back, saying: “I liked the game really. You call it in this country a dead rubber, so you don’t know what to expect.
“I didn’t like the goal we conceded obviously, but it helped. It made it immediately clear, ‘Okay, we have to go’, and the boys did.”
He added: “I saw that we really worked in the game and tried to find a way and got better and better and better. It was better before the changes, but then the changes really helped massively.
“I really liked the game. It was far away from being perfect, but it’s a good example for what the boys did over the whole season.
“They didn’t only win football games when the sun was shining, the pitch was perfect and everything was perfect. They won a lot of difficult games as well.
“Today was a difficult game and we won it, well deserved, and stayed 95 minutes in the game after the season the boys played. Incredibly, really.”