Jurgen Klopp Says Liverpool Must 'Dig In' in Title Race, Talks Virgil van Dijk

Matt JonesFeatured ColumnistMarch 30, 2019

MUNICH, GERMANY - MARCH 13: Head coach Juergen Klopp of Liverpool and Virgil Van Dijk of Liverpool celebrate after winning the UEFA Champions League Round of 16 Second Leg match between FC Bayern Muenchen and Liverpool at Allianz Arena on March 13, 2019 in Munich, Germany. (Photo by TF-Images/Getty Images)
TF-Images/Getty Images

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp has called on his team to "dig in" in the final weeks of the Premier League season and has outlined how he convinced Virgil van Dijk to sign for the club.

The Reds go into the gameweek's fixtures at the summit of the table. After beating Fulham prior to the international break, they have a two-point advantage over Manchester City, although the champions have a game in hand.

Speaking ahead of their showdown with Tottenham Hotspur at Anfield on Sunday, Klopp said his players need to show resilience if they are to get over the line, per Simon Hughes of The Independent.

"I don't know the English word—is it resilient?," said the Liverpool boss. "Being kind of stubborn; do the right things again and again and again. Dig in and stay in. That's it. It's all there. The good thing is, do I have to talk about motivation with the boys? Of course not. They are all on fire."

The chances are that Liverpool will need to respond when they take to the field on Sunday, as City are in action on Saturday. They travel to relegation-threatened Fulham and are big favourites for victory.

Liverpool made hard work of their win over the Cottagers, as they needed an error from goalkeeper Sergio Rico and a penalty from James Milner to win 2-1. Speaking at his press conference on Friday, Klopp said he anticipates more challenging spells in games:

Simon Hughes @Simon_Hughes__

Klopp: ‘We have to accept that we will have problems in games. If you expect not to have problems then you have problems.’

Getting through these portions of matches unscathed has been made easier by Van Dijk, who is many people's favourite to be crowned as the PFA Players' Player of the Year.

He arrived at Anfield in January 2018, and Klopp has detailed how he convinced the Netherlands captain to make the switch to Merseyside:

"I told him what we wanted to do in the next couple of years and what the plan is, who we have, who we plan to bring in and things we want to improve. Obviously, he listened and thought it sounded exciting. I was not surprised when the decision was made but I was not sure before because I knew who else was in the race for him.

"It was a big moment for him and for us as well. It was a massive statement, that is true. In that moment, he was the most wanted centre half, maybe with [Aymeric] Laporte and [Kalidou] Koulibaly as well, but in England it was for sure Virgil. When Virgil made his decision, it was a fantastic day."

Van Dijk has also been speaking about the run-in:

Liverpool FC @LFC

A strong message from @VirgilvDijk 👊 #FridayMotivation

While Liverpool have done exceptionally well to put themselves in a position to compete with City, there will be a sense of disappointment if they can't convert this fine season into a title triumph.

The Reds are also in the UEFA Champions League quarter-finals, and they have a favourable draw against Porto. With Klopp calm about the challenge ahead and Van Dijk a colossal figure at the base of the team, Liverpool supporters are right to be excited about what the end of the season may hold.