Once you’ve been on top for a while, though, people start to want to see you fail—like Liverpool failed on the weekend, suffering a humiliating 7-2 defeat to an Aston Villa side that battled relegation last year.
That’s how star defender Virgil van Dijk sees it, at least, with the Dutch international talking about the feeling that pundits and neutrals are increasingly eager to see the Reds slip up.
“I think trying to stay at the top is the hardest thing to do,” he told the BBC. “Everyone wants to see you fall when you reach the top. That is what life is about, especially these days.
“It is going to be challenging times coming up. We are champions—something that took a while. We should enjoy the moment and go for it.”
True or not, it is perhaps at least another motivator. Another reason for a side that has won just about everything over the past two seasons to keep going, to keep pushing and striving and digging deep to win again.
However, Van Dijk thinks that a bigger help might be the return of fans, which looks unlikely to happen soon in England but that the defender admits he and his teammates continue to miss greatly.
“The fans can play a massive part,” Van Dijk added. “When you concede the fans will lift you and when you score they make the opponent go further away from you.
“It’s the same case for everyone, but for us in particular everyone knows how difficult it is to play at Anfield with the fans behind us. Hopefully things can change as soon as possible because we need fans.
“It lifts our performances at home but when you play away and the home fans turn against you, I like that. It gives you motivation sometimes to do better. It’s something I definitely enjoy and that I miss.”