Virgil van Dijk hailed “an important win” for Liverpool as they beat Wolves 2-0 at Anfield ahead of welcoming Manchester United on Sunday where he says they will “need a big atmosphere”.
Van Dijk scored the opener as the Reds finally broke down their resolute opponents in the 73rd minute on Wednesday, heading in a Diogo Jota cross before Mohamed Salah made the points safe with a second four minutes later.
Liverpool move up to sixth in the table, while the Dutchman has now scored 20 goals in the Premier League, the most of any central defender in the competition since he joined Southampton from Celtic in 2015.
“An important win, so it’s time to recover and focus on the next one,” Van Dijk told Premier League Productions. “Of course [we had to be patient]. I think we see the games we played against them this season, they have been quite tough and today it wasn’t any different so we had to be patient and wait for the moment.”
Liverpool face an in-form United at home on Sunday, and Van Dijk is in no doubt as to how difficult the game will be, which is why they will need the fans’ help.
“I think we need a big atmosphere on Sunday,” he said. “I think today obviously it was quite nervous and hopefully on Sunday we can get everyone in their best – including us, because we obviously have to do the hard work on the pitch against an in-form Man United. So, we will recover now and we will be ready for Sunday of course.”
Speaking at his post-match press conference, Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp also looked forward to Sunday’s game, saying: “I think Man United is the team in form at the moment, maybe together with Arsenal and [Manchester] City are [also] doing well.
“The teams up there are all in a pretty good moment and I didn’t see yet the line-up [for United’s FA Cup win over West Ham] but maybe they changed quite a few? That means some of them will be a bit fresher than us, but it’s a home game and it’s Anfield.
“I thought Anfield proved a point tonight again, it was super, super-enjoyable. It felt like a proper unit, we were all together – I loved that. That’s what we need again on Sunday, but of course it will be difficult.
“Again, if you face United at the weekend whichever result you’ve had before, either way you have to strike back or whatever, but now we have to use it for our general situation. We have to build on the performance and on the result – and we try everything to do exactly that.”
Klopp was also pleased with the performance of Van Dijk, as well as the rest of his team’s defensive showing as they recorded a fourth clean sheet in a row in the league.
“Yeah, we all need that [performance] and [Van Dijk] needs that as well and it’s obviously a really good one, in a tough game for defenders,” Klopp said. “I thought we performed tonight, we played a really good game in general.
“But I really think the centre-halves and Fabinho together, how they covered that area, how they denied the counter-attacks, how they defended into midfield, which is very important against a team who play with one striker. I thought they did really well.”
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