Football

Future rosy for Liverpool: Virgil van Dijk

Centre-back says Liverpool are on verge of becoming a dominant force, like they were in the past

Whether or not Liverpool win their first league title since 1990, Virgil van Dijk believes the future is rosy for the red half of Merseyside.

The Reds could finish their English Premier League season on Sunday with 97 points and still not lift the title.

In the history of the league, only one team have ever finished with more points - Manchester City last season.

After reaching the Champions League final for the second successive season, van Dijk believes the signs are there that the Reds could be returning to their halcyon days.

Before the Premier League era, the Reds were the dominant force in English football, winning 11 league crowns and four European Cups from 1973 to 1990.

Van Dijk, who was recently crowned the Best Player in the league by his peers, believes the good times are set to return to Merseyside.

He told Sky Sports: "That's something we work towards.

"I feel that (Manchester) City already have that bit of status because they have been dominating last year...

"Hopefully, we can keep going and make it very difficult for any team in the world.

"We have a great age group.

"Between 20 and 27-28, so hopefully we can do it all together for the next couple of years at least and grow as a team and hopefully get a lot of success."

Whether or not league success finally returns to Anfield on Sunday, the 27-year-old insists his side have had a fantastic season.

Liverpool need to beat seventh-placed Wolverhampton Wanderers and hope league leaders Manchester City slip up against 17th-placed Brighton & Hove Albion - who have not won any of their last nine matches - to win the league.

Said van Dijk: "If it happens, it happens. We have no influence on that.

"They have it in their hands.

"If it doesn't happen then it's not the end of the world.

"We've had a fantastic season, both of us. Man City have been outstanding as well.

"To compete with them says a lot about how we're progressing from last year.

"It's just the start.

"It's not like next year we're not going to try to do it again.

"It's something we have to build on.

"Hopefully ourselves are going to keep challenging for the title.

"Man City are one of the best teams in the world and they've shown it the whole season how difficult they can make it for any team in the world."

REPLICA TROPHY

Should the Reds upset the odds and pip City to the league title, the EPL trophy they lift for the first time will not be the original but a replica, according to The Times.

Since matches on the final day of the season are played simultaneously, the EPL will have a replica trophy on standby at Anfield in case Juergen Klopp's side win the title.

The replica is used by the EPL and often on display in television studios and on promotional tours, reported Reuters.

The original, which has been at City's Etihad Stadium since they won it last year, will be shipped to Brighton for Sunday's game.

League winner's medals will also be made available at both stadiums and any player who has made at least five appearances this season will receive one.

Football