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Virgil van Dijk: Liverpool Have Learnt from Missing out on 2019 Premier League

Tom Sunderland@@TomSunderland_Featured ColumnistDecember 31, 2019

LEICESTER, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 26: Virgil van Dijk and Andrew Robertson of Liverpool celebrate after victory in the Premier League match between Leicester City and Liverpool FC at The King Power Stadium on December 26, 2019 in Leicester, United Kingdom. (Photo by Visionhaus)
Visionhaus/Getty Images

Liverpool talisman Virgil van Dijk has said his side have learnt from narrowly missing out on last season's Premier League title, with the club now on course to win their first top-flight crown since 1990. 

The Merseysiders finished one point behind defending champions Manchester City in May, but a 13-point advantage at the table summit with a game in hand suggests Liverpool will end their 30-year wait for the title this term.

Van Dijk, 28, said he hopes to "finish the season on a high." He also believes that Liverpool benefited from winning the UEFA Champions League in June as they continue the march on domestic glory, per Goal's Chris Burton:

"We came very close. Unfortunately, City were just a little bit better, but that spurred us on to try even harder this year, and so we have been winning games, grinding games out and playing good football at times.

"We enjoy the hard work too so that is very good. Hopefully, we can just keep going doing that and just be hungry for that as well.

"We should be learning from what happened last year and I feel that is definitely what has been going on."

It's also thanks to signings like £75 million Van Dijk that Liverpool's prospects have been upgraded in recent times, and he'll celebrate the two-year anniversary of his arrival at Anfield in January:

The Netherlands defender has enjoyed a whirlwind two years on Merseyside and looks every bit worth his investment. That sentiment that will only grow if Liverpool end their Premier League title wait in 2020.

The Reds are 13 points ahead of the competition with one game in hand, having recently opened new breathing space following their 4-0 victory away to Leicester City on Boxing Day:

Van Dijk made his 100th appearance for the club in their following fixture, a 1-0 victory at home to a tricky Wolverhampton Wanderers team:

Virgil van Dijk @VirgilvDijk

Nice to finish 2019 with a big win! Proud to reach 100 @LFC appearances for this great club #YNWA 💫 https://t.co/kuNfwkFOwA

Only two points have been dropped in the league this season, while Liverpool have lost just twice across all competitions, one being the 5-0 Carabao Cup defeat to Aston Villa in which a team of youngsters was fielded.

Jurgen Klopp's influence has also been a critical factor in bringing Liverpool back to their former glories.

That being said, the German tactician has refused to get ahead of himself and recently dismissed the suggestion this season's Premier League title is already decided:

Goal @goal

🗣️ Don't tell Jurgen Klopp that Liverpool have won the title: "I couldn’t be less interested in that [talk that the title race is over] to be honest. "We are not listening to any of that. We are focused on our next game only." https://t.co/3J2vOPGbM6

City manager Pep Guardiola was less ambivalent in his assessment and said in late December that it was unrealistic to think about catching Liverpool considering their lead (14 points ahead of his side):

ESPN FC @ESPNFC

Pep Guardiola says “it’s unrealistic to think about Liverpool.” 😶 https://t.co/agr8UxgQpc

Van Dijk is perhaps right to feel upbeat about Liverpool's habit in learning from their mistakes. They lost 3-1 to Real Madrid in the 2018 Champions League final but fought back to win the following continental crown, beating Tottenham Hotspur one year on to reach Europe's pinnacle again.

Klopp and Co. now look likely to mimic that feat in England's top flight and would require a collapse of record-breaking proportions to not go on and clinch this season's Premier League.