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Virgil van Dijk on Liverpool Surviving Congested Christmas Fixture List

The Reds’ recent difficult run has helped set them up for a title-challenging second half of the Premier League season.

Burnley FC v Liverpool FC - Premier League Photo by Lewis Storey/Getty Images

Over a busy ten day stretch around Christmas, Liverpool played four important games, taking on Manchester United, Arsenal, and Burnley in the league and brushing aside West Ham in the League Cup quarter-final.

As far as difficult runs of fixtures and congested schedules go, it’s hard to imagine a much more difficult run, and while the results weren’t perfect they look more than good enough and the performances were commendable.

“It’s been a very intense 10 days, with four difficult games and different challenges,” captain Virgil Van Dijk noted. “I think we did very well, overall I’m pleased with the performances. I think we played well and we move on.”

In addition to the cup victory over West Ham and Tuesday’s more than deserved 2-0 win over Burnley, there was a hard-fought 1-1 draw with then leaders Arsenal where by underlying metrics Liverpool were the better side.

The only truly disappointing result, then, was a nil-nil with historic rivals Manchester United—though as in the Arsenal game, based on the numbers it was Liverpool who should have taken maximum points from the match.

It sets up a situation where, with Arsenal two points behind but yet to play their 19th league game of the season, Liverpool know that they will hit the half-way mark no worse off than second and a point behind the leaders.

“It’s December so we won’t think too far ahead,” Van Dijk added. “I’m very pleased because it’s our last game for us of the year. Now it’s time to have a little bit of time together with our family and then we focus on Newcastle.

“Then we will see. We will focus on ourselves and we will see by February and March how the table looks. We are definitely hoping to be up there and to be competing with the others, so let’s see where we could be.”

Liverpool’s now completed congested run of fixtures has a potential silver lining, with the Reds now in the midst of a six day break before they face Newcastle on January 1st while Arsenal play today and New Year’s Eve.

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