Virgil van Dijk said he is keen for Liverpool to end the Jurgen Klopp era ‘on a high’ this season.
Van Dijk scored as Liverpool beat Norwich 5-2 to reach the FA Cup’s fifth round on Sunday, with the Reds easing past the Championship side to remain in contention for four trophies.
Curtis Jones, Darwin Nunez, Diogo Jota and Ryan Gravenberch were also on target at Anfield, as Liverpool booked a fifth-round tie against Watford or Southampton.
The win came in the first fixture since it was announced that Klopp will leave Liverpool at the end of the season, with the German set to stand down from his role as manager after almost nine years in charge.
Van Dijk discussed an emotional atmosphere at Anfield and the desire of the squad to end Klopp’s decorated reign in style this season.
“It was the first time since the announcement that the manager was back in the stadium seeing all of the fans,” Van Dijk said to BBC Match of the Day.
It was always going to be a bit different. Within the squad, nothing has changed. It was very emotional on the day. As a squad, we have a lot of targets to achieve. Let’s give it everything we have. The manager is her until the summer. We have to deal with the noise. It’s my job as captain to make sure it doesn’t reach our players.”
Asked whether Klopp’s exit would give the squad added motivation for the run-in, Van Dijk added: “I can only speak for myself in this case. We have been through so much together and I am grateful for everything he has done for me, my family and my career. Why not end it on a high and make more memories? Let’s see.
“We still have more goals. We don’t just want to win for the boss. We want to win for ourselves, the club and because we are winners. We need a bouncing Anfield on Wednesday and a perfect performance against a good Chelsea.”
It was a memorable afternoon for Liverpool’s academy, with four players produced within in the Reds’ ranks starting the contest. Curtis Jones opened the scoring, while Conor Bradley and James McConnell – the latter making his first senior start – registered assists at Anfield.
“I’m very impressed with the youngsters. I see them daily in training,” Van Dijk said.
“They have to keep working and stay humble. They’re at a fantastic club and the culture here is outstanding for young players. You have to use the opportunity as well because you don’t get many as a professional footballer.”