Liverpool go into Tuesday’s final Champions League game against Napoli in a very precarious position. They need to win either by a scoreline of 1-0 or by two or more clear goals in order to continue onto the knockout stages. It’s certainly doable, especially at Anfield, but Liverpool’s tremendous league form has not translated well in the Champions League this season. They lost all three away games, which put them in third place, and now only a very good result, mixed with some luck, will see them over the line.
Virgil van Dijk, however, is convinced that this Reds squad has what it takes not only to make it through the group stages, but to put in another strong Champions League run, like the one that saw them make it to the final last season. He also believes that they can do this while maintaining their stellar Premier League performances.
“We are top of the league now but it could change next week. The main thing for us is to do everything we can to go through,” the Dutch defender said in the pre-game press conference.
“It is going to be a tough game but I am very confident, like always in my team. At Liverpool there is always a lot of pressure, but it is good pressure. You want to play in these circumstances. I definitely look at the squad and think it can compete on two fronts. We still need to show it but I think we are definitely capable of competing in both competitions. Hopefully that will be the case.”
Last season, after a slow start, Liverpool dominated their Champions League matches, until they came up against Real Madrid in the final. This season has not produced the same scintillating displays, but if they keep finding a way to make it through, then I doubt anyone will be complaining.
And what of the fans who say that Liverpool bombing out of the competition would be a blessing in disguise? Van Dijk says that we’re all thinking to that: “I don’t think [the people saying that] are Liverpool fans.”
While very little has gone right for Liverpool since beating PSG back in September, having the deciding game play out at Anfield is one stroke of good luck that they will hopefully be able to take advantage of.