Virgil van Dijk Says Champions League Win 'Just the Start' of New Liverpool Era

Tom Sunderland@@TomSunderland_Featured ColumnistJune 3, 2019

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - JUNE 02: James Milner and Virgil van Dijk of Liverpool with the UEFA Champions League trophy on board a parade bus after winning the UEFA Champions League final against Tottenham Hotspur in Madrid on June 2, 2019 in Liverpool, England. (Photo by Nigel Roddis/Getty Images)
Nigel Roddis/Getty Images

Liverpool defender Virgil van Dijk has said Saturday's UEFA Champions League final triumph is "just the start" of a new era for the club. 

Van Dijk was named man of the match as the Reds beat Tottenham Hotspur 2-0 at the Wanda Metropolitano in Madrid, and he told reporters the squad has more major trophies in their sights next term:

"This is just the start. It's not like we're going away. In July, we start again. Everyone starts even, and we go again.

"We're going to try everything we can to be challenging for the [Premier League] title, challenging for the Champions League, but also for the [domestic] cups.

"We definitely want to have these nights more often, but it's not easy, and the only thing to do is keep believing, keep working hard, stay humble—and I think we'll definitely be doing that."

Mohamed Salah converted a penalty in the second minute after Moussa Sissoko handled the ball inside the box, and substitute Divock Origi settled the result with a low, driven strike in the 87th minute.

Manchester City beat Liverpool to the Premier League crown by one point to win back-to-back titles for the first time in their history, but some pressure is now off the Reds' shoulders.

Jurgen Klopp's side were given an ecstatic welcome when they arrived back in Liverpool for Sunday's parade, and £75 million man Van Dijk thanked the fans following a successful first full season at the club:

Virgil van Dijk @VirgilvDijk

Unbelievable, thank you Reds! #YNWA 🏆 https://t.co/Y2Q5iuRJjR

Real Madrid beat the Merseysiders to the European crown in 2018, and it speaks volumes of their hunger that they improved to feature in back-to-back finals.

Liverpool clinched their first major trophy since winning the 2011 League Cup under Kenny Dalglish, not to mention Saturday's win sealed the club's sixth European title overall.

Van Dijk became Liverpool's record signing when he joined from Southampton in January 2018. The club have not missed a Champions League final since then, while the likes of Alisson, Fabinho, Naby Keita and Xherdan Shaqiri have each had an impact since joining last summer.

However, it's the Dutch centre-back in particular who has looked elite in his field and reminded us of this against Spurs, per OptaJoe:

OptaJoe @OptaJoe

0 - No opposition player has completed a dribble past Virgil van Dijk in any of his last 64 appearances in all competitions for Liverpool. Rock. #UCLFinal https://t.co/VlviY2ohRH

Salah and Sadio Mane each echoed Van Dijk's sentiments and have voiced their desire to add the league title in 2019-20.

They won't be the only European champion looking to build on their success in England next season, however:

B/R Football @brfootball

Two European trophies landed in England 🏴󠁧󠁢󠁥󠁮󠁧󠁿 Liverpool 🤝 Chelsea https://t.co/NePogAe4QO

It took four years for Klopp to win his first major trophy at Liverpool, but the quality of his squad and the players' hunger to make history could mean more silverware is on the horizon.