Despite breaking two ribs in September, Virgil van Dijk has appeared in every league and European game for Liverpool so far this season, only being rested for the League Cup. Of a possible 2340 minutes in the league and Europe, he has played 2305.
He says he’s not interested in getting a rest and time soon. In fact, to hear him talk about it, he might even be a little upset at having missed out on those 35 league and Champions League minutes and 90 minutes of League Cup action against Chelsea.
“I don’t need to rest,” he said when asked about his heavy workload for the Reds this season. “Everyone wants to play every game. It’s not like you want to sit on the bench. As long as I’m fit and feel alright then I just keep going and playing.”
Given his form, Jürgen Klopp and Liverpool fans probably wouldn’t be against him playing every minute in the league and Europe the rest of the way this season—though a rest against Wolves in the FA Cup on January 7th might not be a bad idea.
It’s only been a year since he joined, but already it’s difficult to imagine Klopp’s Liverpool without him. And it’s difficult, with Van Dijk now in the conversation for best defender in the world, to remember a time when his £75M transfer fee seemed high.
All that matters for Van Dijk, though, is the next game and playing again. Heading into Arsenal, they were all that mattered. And now that the Gunners have been dispatched, a chance to deal a blow to Manchester City’s title hopes is all that matters.
“We can now focus on the City game,” the imposing Dutchman added. “Before, we didn’t do that. Arsenal had been playing pretty well this season so we had to stay focused on them, not think about City, [but] we have finished 2018 now pretty well.
“City is a game that we want to win. It will be very hard, very tough, but for them as well. It’s going be a good match, but it is not decisive. We are not going to treat it different to any other. We will be prepared for a very tough game.
“We won’t get carried away. We need to keep doing what we have been doing. There will be setbacks, as there always is in life, but it’s how you react. There are things to improve, but we are top of the league, in the Champions League, and doing well.
“We just need to keep going.”