Today, Manchester City are celebrating a league title. So are Barcelona and Juventus. But all three headed into the season with their primary target being a little game in Madrid on June 1st to determine the champion of Europe.
Instead it’s Liverpool who will, for the second year running, be playing in that game. It’s Liverpool who have a shot at winning their sixth European cup. It’s been a hell of a season for the Reds—and it’s not over quite yet.
“It was a great title race and I’ve enjoyed every bit of it,” Van Dijk said the the close of the league season. “But we have to look on the positive side and remember we are still in Madrid, hopefully we can end the season on a high.
“I think we are all a little disappointed because we are so close [but] to get 97 points, to play football like we have played all season, we have to be very, very proud. City were just a tiny little bit better than us, and that’s football as well.”
Disappointed but proud. Turning their attentions towards the Champions League final. And also feeling as though, while this league season may be over, this season won’t be the end of it for this talented group of players.
Unlike after past near-miss title challenges, there is a real belief that this squad can be kept together and perhaps even added to. This squad fully deserved their 97 points and they will be back next year to try to top it.
“It doesn’t mean it is all over,” Van Dijk added. “We take a lot of things with us, we will take this on, and hopefully we can challenge next year and do even better.”