With Jordan Henderson sidelined for at least three weeks with a hamstring strain and James Milner nursing a minor knock, Virgil van Dijk took to the pitch on Monday night as captain of Liverpool Football Club.
As one might expect, the always cool Dutch defender was downplaying any significance of wearing the armband, saying that while he’s proud to do so it really doesn’t change much—for him or the rest of the team.
“No, only that I am wearing the captain’s armband,” Van Dijk replied when asked if being captain changed anything for him after Liverpool’s 3-2 victory over West Ham. “The rest stays the same.
“Until Henderson is back, until Milly is back—soon, hopefully—I will wear it and be proud of it. The main thing is we just keep going and keep playing and keep pressing. Obviously we are in a good situation.”
A good situation, aka 22 points clear of nearest challengers Manchester City, having dropped just two points in the league all season, and with a chance to officially wrap things up with four more wins.
It means the Reds can officially win the Premier League and their first domestic title in three decades against Crystal Palace on March 21st. Or, if City drop three points, they can do it against Everton on the 16th.
Not that the players, Van Dijk or anyone else, is looking ahead to that. They’re just doing what they’ve done all along, staying focused on the only thing that matters: the next match and next opponent.”
“Hopefully it means a lot at the end of the season,” Van Dijk added. “Until then just try to work hard, stay grounded, and take it game by game. If you look for negatives then so be it, but we want to win games.
“We know it is going to be tough every game. We will just keep going and stay positive and not get nervous. That is the main thing.”