Liverpool will still attract top talent across ‘exciting’ and ‘intense’ summer, Virgil van Dijk believes

The Reds will have no Champions League next season as several players prepare to depart next month

Richard Jolly
Senior Football Correspondent
Sunday 21 May 2023 17:08 BST
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Virgil van Dijk said Liverpool’s revival in recent weeks has left him excited for what they can achieve next season and feels they have turned the corner after a troubled time.

Liverpool have won seven of their last eight games but even though a draw against Aston Villa means they are almost certain to miss out on Champions League football, Van Dijk feels up-and-coming players will still be attracted by the chance of a move to Anfield.

The Reds have finished in the top four in each of Van Dijk’s season at the club and the Dutch defender believes their form in April and May leaves them well positioned for a fine campaign next year, especially with new signings.

“I’m very excited for next season,” he said. “I think that feeling came a couple of months ago when we turned the page. Obviously there’s still a lot to work on but the good thing in this case is that we have the whole pre-season to work on this and that’s definitely the plan.

“The noises I’m hearing, it’s going to be a very intense pre-season with a lot of physical work but also a lot of tactical work trying to get ready for a tough season. That’s very exciting. Players are leaving, hopefully players come in and will be ready for the start of pre-season.

“Everybody knows we’ve been going through a little bit of a transition and, if I’m a player on the rise and I have options to go to the next step and Liverpool is knocking on my door, then I would be very, very interested. I don’t think it’s going to change much but, if someone wants to play Champions League no matter what, then that’s their ambition.”

Roberto Firmino scored on his final appearance at Anfield against Aston Villa and Van Dijk believes his Netherlands teammate Cody Gakpo is doing a fine job of replacing the Brazilian as Liverpool’s false nine.

He added: “I think it’s a very, very difficult role to play and I think Cody’s doing exceptional. He’s still learning, still adapting. In my opinion, Bobby has been one of the best in this role. Cody, it’s his first six months and he’s already doing so well, so that’s a positive sign and he has to keep going, keep both feet on the ground, and listen to me!”

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