Recently crowned UEFA Player of the Year Virgil van Dijk could be excused for thinking he’s “made it.” Of course, it’s the never-ending competitive spirit that would lead Van Dijk to edge out the likes of Lionel Messi and some other guy for the highest club and individual honors in Europe. And it is this same spirit which would naturally lead him to never settle or be satisfied.
“The only thing I want to do is focus and get better,” the Dutch international told Premier League Productions in an interview. “There are still plenty of things to improve – with the team and with myself – and that’s the only thing I want to do.
“The main thing is to try to put in your head that we all start from the bottom. We won the Champions League last year obviously but it doesn’t count right now, we start from the bottom.
“That’s how it is because that’s the reality. If we all keep that in our minds then we should be fine.”
Of course, it is not just the Champions League which requires a mental (and literal) reset, but also the Premier League. Although Liverpool ran City closer than anyone would have expected, and would have won the league almost any other year, the Reds have a long way to go toward earning anywhere in the neighborhood of 97 points.
At least when winning the European Cup, Liverpool improved their seeding for the competition, ending up in that coveted Pot 1. Plus they benefitted from the opportunities to lift the UEFA Super Cup (check) and the FIFA Club World Cup (TBD).
However, in the league, finishing with 97 points—and empty-handed—affords Liverpool no tangible benefits within the league. Instead, they’re left with regrets, and hopefully a hunger to put things right. Judging by Van Dijk’s comments, it seems as if that hunger is definitely still there.
“I’m a part of a bit of history already with winning the Champions League and hopefully we can just keep making history,” Van Dijk added.