Liverpool defender Virgil Van Dijk insists their European
exit will not knock the confidence of the Premier League champions-elect.
Jurgen Klopp's side have reached the Champions League final
for the last two seasons but a 4-2 aggregate defeat to Atletico Madrid ensured
there would be no hat-trick.
The consolation is that the club are a maximum of two wins
away from lifting a domestic title for the first time in 30 years and that is
what the players will remind themselves when they reconvene later this week to
prepare for Monday's Merseyside derby.
"I think we did everything we could to win the game. We
were outstanding for 95 minutes," said the Holland captain.
"We were intense, we dominated, won the ball, won a lot
of second balls and put in a lot of work and heart in the challenges.
"The only thing is we are out of the Champions League.
But we are back in on Friday and then everybody has to be ready for another
intense game and we will be.
"Let's go out there and enjoy it and don't forget why
we are 25 points clear at the top."
The performance against Atletico was similar to many of the
games which have put Klopp's team so far out of reach at the top of the table.
They had 71 per cent possession, 34 shots with 11 on target
and 16 corners but found goalkeeper Jan Oblak in inspired form and it was his
display alone which kept the visitors in the game during the second half, which
ultimately allowed them to win in extra-time.
"We dominated the game and had the intensity that they
had to deal with, but they had an outstanding goalkeeper and he kept them
alive," added Van Dijk.
"He pulled off some great saves and we tried
everything. The difference was their goalkeeper. He was outstanding."
Focus now switches to the short trip to Goodison Park with
the impending threat of the growing coronavirus spread bringing the prospect of
matches behind closed doors ever closer.
Van Dijk said the players were not in favour of closing
grounds but accepted medical advice had to prevail.
"I think the main thing is football should be played
with fans. We play also for the fans, the fans pay to come and support
us," said the Dutchman.
"But it is not their decision, it is not our decision,
the decision is going to be made by the government, Premier League and until
that decision is made, we just have to wait and see. If the decision is made,
"We need to get a good result at Goodison Park. That is
going to be very tough.
"They are not in the best moment either so we will try
everything to get a good result, but we know how difficult it will be."