Virgil van Dijk has admitted that Liverpool found it ‘tough’ against Newcastle United last week – even if the defender felt his side ‘silenced’ the crowd at times.
Liverpool ran out 1-0 winners at Liverpool on Saturday thanks to a 19th-minute strike from Naby Keita as the Reds stayed in the hunt for an unprecedented quadruple. Jurgen Klopp’s side had a host of chances to score that killer second – Sadio Mane and DIogo Jota both spurned decent opportunities – but ultimately one goal was enough.
Aspects of the game showed how far Newcastle had come defensively, but this fixture was also a reminder of how far the Magpies have to go to close the gap on Europe’s elite. Newcastle failed to win a single corner and the closest the hosts came to scoring was when Alisson made a comfortable save to keep out a Bruno Guimaraes effort from distance late on.
However, to put Saturday into perspective, the 1-0 loss was Newcastle’s first home league defeat in 2022 and, perhaps, that should not come as a surprise given the remarkable atmosphere at St James’ in recent months. Van Dijk certainly took note of the ‘welcome’ his side were given and it stayed with him even after he discussed Liverpool’s Champions League semi-final victory against Villarreal a few days later.
“Obviously, we played a tough game at Newcastle where, also, the fans were behind them, especially in the beginning, but the way we played was much better than we played here in the first half,” van Dijk told BT Sport. “We silenced the crowd at times and this is a total different scenario because they play, basically, without anything to lose
“This is, for them, the biggest game in their history of the club so, of course, they’re going to go that extra yard but we should enjoy the moment and then we will focus on Spurs at the weekend. That’s how it is.”
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