Football

Virgil van Dijk: Ballon d’Or showing can spur Liverpool to more glory

Virgil van Dijk said that seeing four Liverpool players finish in the top 10 in the ranking for this year's Ballon d'Or can be an extra source of motivation for the Anfield club in their quest for more on-field success this season.

"Obviously, the season we had was outstanding. We had even more players than that on the total shortlist so everyone can be proud of the achievement," said van Dijk, after coming second behind Lionel Messi at the awards ceremony in Paris yesterday morning (Singapore time).

Sadio Mane finished fourth, Mohamed Salah was fifth and goalkeeper Alisson came seventh in the voting by journalists from around the world for the prize organised by France Football magazine.

Roberto Firmino, Trent Alexander-Arnold and Georginio Wijnaldum had also been nominated, after starring as Juergen Klopp's side won the Champions League last season.

In addition, Alisson won the new Yashin Trophy awarded to the Goalkeeper of the Year.

"We could have even have had a couple more players in it. But we had a fantastic season last year and it should help motivate us to keep doing what we are doing, working even harder and try to achieve even more than we did last year," added van Dijk.

Liverpool are eight points clear at the top of the English Premier League, raising expectations that they will finally go on to win a first league title in three decades.

Holland defender van Dijk, 28, has been an inspired signing by Liverpool, and his second place in the Ballon d'Or voting comes after he also finished second to Messi in the voting for Fifa's The Best prize in September.

Klopp, who reiterated that van Dijk deserves to win the Ballon d'Or, urged his players to replicate their good work.

The German coach said at his pre-match press conference yesterday: "What Virg said after it was absolutely right.

"I am really happy for my players. It's nice, but it was last season. Now the awards are done, all the boys can go for new ones."

For starters, van Dijk and company will have to make sure that the absence of the suspended Alisson and the injured Fabinho is not felt tomorrow morning (Singapore time), when they host Everton.

The Toffees have also been confirmed as their opponents in the FA Cup third round, which takes place over the first weekend of 2020. - AFP

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