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vIrgil Van Dijk believes Liverpool can create an ‘unforgettable’ season as their quadruple bid enters a critical phase.

The Dutch defender says the Merseyside club should relish the uniqueness of their quest to win every tournament. Jurgen Klopp’s side face Benfica in the Champions League quarter-final on Tuesday and Manchester City in the Premier League this weekend.

“We just want to make this season an unforgettable one, for us as players, the staff and the whole club,” said Van Dijk.

“The things that have been going on at Liverpool are things that no one should take for granted. We are very stable. We should just enjoy it, go out there and give it our all. If that is enough at the end of the season, happy days, if we do not try again next season.”

Asked if such high stakes fixtures ever cause anxiety, or even fear, Van Dijk said: “No, in this case definitely not. We are in this position, still in all competitions, we are playing good and we have the chance to win all those competitions, so just go for it. We just need everyone to give everything and enjoy the ride.”

Van Dijk has been back to his best since January, a revival he attributes not only to his recovery from knee surgery, but a psychological change. He says he let judgments on how soon he was back to his normal standards of him bother him.

“Before the international break in January I felt a bit taken for granted coming back from a long-term injury,” he said.

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“Everyone expected that everything was normal. After the international break I didn’t (care) and maybe that helped the performances.”

For Klopp, returning to Lisbon conjures memories of the call he received from his agent, Marc Kosicke, in September 2015 which informed him Liverpool were interested in discussing his appointment. Klopp was enjoying a sabbatical having left Borussia Dortmund and was on a family holiday in Lisbon.

The German coach met owners Fenway Sports Group in New York a couple of weeks later before replacing Brendan Rodgers as manager.

“It (the phonecall) did change my life,” said Klopp.

“It was my agent on the phone, he told me about the interest. We were completely in the holiday mood but there were some rumors around that we didn’t really follow but with two sons around they picked up pretty much everything and I knew from them a little bit that a couple of things could happen. The phone rang – and I didn’t pick up a lot of phone calls at that time because my family was around – but it was my agent who is my friend as well and when he said yeah Liverpool is calling, the boys were looking at me and in that moment the decision was made. Ulla (Klopp’s wife) put the thumb up and it just felt right from the first second.

“I don’t judge my time here about the trophies, too much. I know everyone else is doing that but it is about the way we play and the way we develop and the way the club is and the position the club is in is much more important. The stories about us are very positive at the moment and rightly so. The boys deserve it, but we all know one failure, one little wrong step and at least one competition can be gone.”

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Klopp, who confirmed there has been no ‘new’ progress on Mohamed Salah’s contract, says he must decide the right moment when to give his star strikers a rest in a hectic run-in.

With five world class strikers to choose from, rotation is certain over the next few weeks which means some stars will start key fixtures on the bench.

“These players will not come to me and ask for a break so I have to pick the moment,” said Klopp.

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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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