Liverpool have an eight point lead on Chelsea and Leicester City. They have a nine point lead on presumed title favourites Manchester City. And top of the table is, inarguably, a very good place to be. But it’s also only November.
Twelve rounds of the Premier League season have been played and 26 now remain. Plenty of time for another side to go on a scintillating run or for the Reds to stumble if they now begin to take that early lead for granted.
“We all know and we all feel that there are still so many games left,” star defender Virgil van Dijk cautioned following Liverpool’s 3-1 victory over Manchester City on Sunday. “So many things can happen between now and mid-May.
“The only thing we can do is hopefully stay fit—we will need all of us—and then play as well as we can. Obviously we’re very happy with the position that we’re in but we know that we shouldn’t take it for granted—and we won’t.”
Now, Van Dijk and many of his Liverpool teammates will head off on international duty for the next two weeks, a break from Liverpool football and the demands of a ten month title race even if it won’t be a break from football.
When they return, the players face Crystal Palace, Brighton, Everton, and Bournemouth in the league along with Napoli and Salzburg in Europe—then things get really busy with the Club World Cup and a packed domestic holiday schedule.
No matter the opponent of the demands of the fixture list, there’s only one answer and approach for Liverpool as Van Dijk sees it, with the defender adding that, whatever happens, Liverpool “have to just keep going.”