Virgil van Dijk has warned Liverpool that they need to make ‘quality signings’ this summer if they want to return to the top of the Premier League.
Jürgen Klopp’s side chased the quadruple last season, but are already resigned to finishing the season with only the Community Shield to their name after their Champions League exit at Real Madrid, followed by eliminations in the FA Cup and the Carabao Cup.
Liverpool are sixth in the Premier League, 24 points behind league leaders Arsenal, and the focus is now on the tough battle to secure a top four place and Champions League football next season – something Van Dijk says is essential for the future of the team.
“It is clear that players are going to leave,” said Van Dijk in reference to the impending departure of striker Roberto Firmino. “That’s been announced, so if we want to be where we’ve been for the last five years, we need quality imports, especially with those players leaving.
“Everyone knows it will be very difficult. It will be very difficult to find the right players, but the club has to do its job in this case.
“We still have a lot of games to play and we want to play in the Champions League. I think that will also help to attract the best players in the world. Not all the time, but it will certainly help.”
Liverpool will meet Fulham on Saturday before the international break and are bracing for some big games on their return.
A visit to the Etihad to take on Manchester City begins on April 1, before meetings with Chelsea and Arsenal in the eight days that follow.
Speaking of Liverpool’s tough run of games, Van Dijk added: “It’s going to be very decisive and we all know that.
“It’s been a season where we can’t find the consistency we’ve had in recent years, but we need to get that back. It sounds very simple, but it is the most difficult part of football. The hardest thing about being a footballer is staying consistent in every game.
“We will do everything we can because I want to play in the Champions League, we all want to play in the Champions League. The fans want to play in the Champions League. We are the players on the pitch, we have to perform and we have to show, but we also need our fans. They have stayed with us through the good times and we probably need them even more during this time. We will fight.”
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