Virgil van Dijk: 'Experience' of Last Season's Man City Battle Helping Liverpool

Matt JonesFeatured ColumnistNovember 11, 2019

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - NOVEMBER 10: Virgil Van Dijk of Liverpool during the Premier League match between Liverpool FC and Manchester City at Anfield on November 10, 2019 in Liverpool, United Kingdom. (Photo by Chloe Knott - Danehouse/Getty Images)
Chloe Knott - Danehouse/Getty Images

Liverpool defender Virgil van Dijk has said the "experience" of finishing as Premier League runners-up to Manchester City last season is helping their push for the title this time around.   

The Reds are in a commanding position at the top of the table after their 3-1 win over City on Sunday. They hold a nine-point advantage over the defending champions and an eight-point buffer to Chelsea and Leicester City.

In 2018-19, Liverpool accumulated a massive 97 points, although they still finished a point behind Pep Guardiola's side. After their win on Sunday, Van Dijk said Liverpool have learned a lot from that incredible title tussle, per Neil Jones of Goal:

"We took a lot of experience last year. Good things, but also some things we should have done better. Hopefully we can only make sure we react better and do better.

"You need to have that bit of luck as well throughout the whole season so at the moment we are very happy in the situation. We drew one game and won the others and hopefully we can keep it going.

"Obviously, we are in a very good situation. That is something we can't deny. But we all feel and we know the season is too long to proper celebrate that we are nine points ahead [of City] or something and we won't. 

"The mentality we have is we just have to carry on and keep doing better than we did. That is the mentality we should take into every game ahead of us."

The Reds have been the standout side in the Premier League this term and showed their class in the 3-1 win over their rivals at Anfield:

Per the Premier League Twitter account, it's been a long time since a team had established such a big lead at this point in the season:

Although Liverpool have not been as solid in their defensive play as they were in the previous campaign, Van Dijk's influence at the back has been crucial to them becoming a force domestically and in Europe.

The Dutch international has had a transformative influence at centre-back, offering a colossal presence and unshakeable assurance in his defensive duties. Van Dijk was excellent against City on Sunday, helping snuff out the plethora of attacking talent they have.

Simon Hughes of The Athletic praised the defensive effort of the team in Sunday's encounter:

Despite the advantage, Grant Wahl of Sports Illustrated said he thinks there's room for twists in the title race yet:

Given the injury issues and subsequent vulnerabilities City have, if Liverpool were to replicate their haul of 97 points again this term, you sense it would be more than enough for them to clinch their first league title since 1990.

Provided Van Dijk remains fit for the rest of the campaign, you can guarantee there won't be many games in which the Reds find themselves shipping too many goals.

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