Virgil van Dijk says anything is possible for Liverpool in ‘crazy’ season | Liverpool

Virgil van Dijk has said World Cup disappointment will fuel his desire for success with Liverpool and the Netherlands in 2023, claiming anything is possible in what could prove “a very crazy” Premier League season.

An encouraging World Cup ended badly for the Netherlands and their captain when they were beaten on penalties in a fractious quarter-final by Argentina. Van Dijk’s penalty was saved by Emiliano Martínez in the shootout, which the eventual champions won 4-3, causing the Liverpool defender several sleepless nights in the aftermath.

Van Dijk, however, believes he can channel the setback into a fruitful year for club and country, and suggested Liverpool’s sights are set higher than finishing in the top four after an inconsistent first part of the season. Jürgen Klopp’s team have won four successive Premier League games to close the gap on the Champions League contenders going into Monday’s trip to Brentford.

The Netherlands captain said: “I had time to reflect. It was a great experience to lead the boys out there and it comes with a lot of responsibility. The whole world is watching, which is something that I really enjoyed.

“Things were disappointing in the end for us, that is also part of football. It was a tough couple of days but then it was about switching back towards the most important things in life; my wife and kids.

“It fuels me because I want to be successful with the Netherlands. I feel like we have a fantastic squad and new era with Ronald Koeman coming back and young players coming through, like Cody [Gakpo] for example. He can make big steps with his transfer of him and then become more important for us.

“Hopefully we can do something nice in the summer with the Nations League finals, that is something I really want to win, even though it is the end of the season when you are absolutely shattered.

“It has also motivated me here. We are quite some points behind Arsenal but the season could be a very crazy one, a very strange one. But we have to be realistic and we’re not thinking about the title at the moment. We have to focus on the game ahead of us, win games and then we’ll see.”

The World Cup quarter-final was acrimonious throughout and ended with Argentina players taunting the Netherlands’ after the penalty shootout. Van Dijk said: “It was a very intense game from start to finish for both sides. You saw me doing things that I normally don’t do. [The shove on Leandro Paredes] was something I don’t normally do but it was the heat of the moment and we are all human beings. They won, we lost through penalties, and that is the hard reality.”

France’s Ibrahima Konate should be available for the Brentford game after a post-World Cup final break while Roberto Firmino, James Milner and Curtis Jones could return from injury. The new signing Gakpo could feature if registered in time but is more likely to make his debut against Wolves in the FA Cup on Saturday.

Klopp reiterated that there was not an endless supply of money for transfers. “I am now here seven years and it is every window is pretty much the same; we talk about these things as though money didn’t play a role,” he said. “It is never like this. We sign an outstanding player like Cody Gakpo and then you read about the next player. We cannot play like Monopoly. Of course we cannot just spend and never could.”

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