Virgil van Dijk has called on Liverpool to retain their title next season following their 3-1 final day victory over Newcastle United.
The Premier League champions rounded off their memorable campaign with a record equaling 32nd victory after coming from behind to beat Newcastle and claim all three points at St James’s Park. Today’s win moves Liverpool onto 99 points for the season, the second-highest return in Premier League history.
Liverpool were made to do it the hard way though, with the home side taking a shock lead after just 25 seconds of action. Jonjo Shelvey’s quick free-kick putting Dwight Gayle clean through on goal to leave the visitors stunned. However, Van Dijk’s looping header on 38 minutes, following Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain’s deep ball into the box, levelled the scores going in at half time.
Divock Origi then curled a smart 20-yard effort beyond the reach of Martin Dubravka just shy of the hour mark, before substitute Sadio Mane expertly cut into the box and applied an excellent finish into the far corner after being played through by Roberto Firmino late on in the match.
After the game, Van Dijk reflected on a hard fought win for his side before turning his attention to retaining their title next season.
“It was not too difficult [to motivate ourselves]. We all wanted to show why we’re the champions,” Van Dijk told Sky Sports.
”We knew it would be tough. We made it even more difficult for ourselves but we played well in the second half. It’s good to finish the season on a high and now for a little break.
“It was an outstanding game in the second half. We played amazing football, and created chances. A well deserved win. Hopefully we’ll be fresh and ready to go for next season in a couple of weeks.
“For this beautiful club it’s [their season] outstanding and should spur us to retain the title. It will be tough. Teams will improve and they’ll want to beat us more. We’ll focus on each game at a time as we did this season. It will be a new challenge.”
Liverpool and Jurgen Klopp will now begin their preparations during the short summer break and look to start the new campaign in the same ruthless form when the action restarts on 12 September.