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Liverpool's Virgil van Dijk Says Winning the Premier League 'Makes You a Legend'

Rory Marsden@@roomarsdenFeatured ColumnistMarch 6, 2019

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - MARCH 03: Virgil van Dijk of Liverpool runs with the ball during the Premier League match between Everton FC and Liverpool FC at Goodison Park on March 03, 2019 in Liverpool, United Kingdom. (Photo by Malcolm Couzens/Getty Images)
Malcolm Couzens/Getty Images

Virgil van Dijk has said he is motivated by becoming a legend at Liverpool and believes helping the Reds win the Premier League this season would secure that status. 

Van Dijk joined Liverpool for £75 million from Southampton in January 2018, and he has helped transform the club's porous defence into the tightest in the league.

Thanks in large part to the fact they have conceded just 15 goals in 29 matches in 2018-19, Jurgen Klopp's side are only a point behind Premier League leaders Manchester City as they pursue a first league title since 1990:

Premier League @premierleague

What it all means... #PL https://t.co/vvgPqmzUeI

Van Dijk's influence this term has made him the favourite to win the PFA Player of the Year award, but the Dutch centre-back said his primary aim is winning the league with Liverpool, per FourFourTwo:

"Really? I didn't know that [I was favourite]. I want to focus on achieving something special, which this club hasn't done for 29 years, and if either myself or any other players are involved in picking up individual awards, that's great.

"It would be a huge honour, but I'd be very proud if any of the squad win awards for a great season, like Mo Salah did last time. Winning the league makes you feel even more proud of yourself and the team. It's a sign of the hard work you've put in over a whole season.

"That motivates you. Winning the Premier League title puts you in the history books forever and makes you a legend. That's why you play football. You want to become a legend."

A defender has not won the PFA's top award since John Terry in 2004-05.

If Liverpool do win the title, though, Van Dijk will be deserving of the accolade as he has arguably been the most influential player in the Premier League this term.

The Reds have always been strong in attack. Last season they boasted the most exciting front three in Europe with Mohamed Salah, Sadio Mane and Roberto Firmino, and they scored 84 Premier League goals, second only to champions City.

However, they finished 25 points behind the Sky Blues in fourth as they also conceded 38 goals.

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - FEBRUARY 27:  Jurgen Klopp manager / head coach of Liverpool and Virgil van Dijk of Liverpool celebrate at full time during the Premier League match between Liverpool FC and Watford FC at Anfield on February 27, 2019 in Liverpool, Uni
Robbie Jay Barratt - AMA/Getty Images

The last time the Reds were involved in a genuine title challenge in 2013-14 under manager Brendan Rodgers they netted 101 goals in the campaign.

However, they let in a whopping 50, which ultimately cost them the title.

In 2018-19, Liverpool are on track to concede 20 goals for the whole season. Not since the 1978-79 season have they been so frugal, and Van Dijk has been the key player in that transformation.

Liverpool have endured a slight slump recently, winning just four of their nine league games in 2019.

Sunday's 0-0 draw at Everton was widely seen as an opportunity missed, but the Toffees also had their chances to snatch all three points.

As ever, though, Van Dijk was imperious:

Squawka Football @Squawka

@iammoallim Virgil van Dijk's game by numbers vs. Everton: 100% tackles won 86% passing accuracy 86 touches 13 clearances 9 aerials won 3 interceptions 1 shot Batted everything away that came his way. 🏓 https://t.co/7He96XnYJy

And come the end of the season, the gained point at Goodison Park could prove valuable.

The Reds will be looking to return to winning ways when they host Burnley on Sunday at Anfield, where last time out they thrashed in-form Watford 5-0. 

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