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Done deal Luis diaz said his ✅ ✅ 



Done deal Luis diaz said his ✅ ✅ 

Liverpool is going through a period of transition and are unlikely to be in the Champions League next season, but Virgil van Dijk is hopeful the Reds are back on track

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Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp reviews the Aston Villa game

Even as doors were closing – on the Anfield career of legends, and Liverpool’s Champions League hopes – there was talk of renewal, of new beginnings.

This was a tough afternoon for everyone, Aston Villa fans apart, in a stadium that itself is undergoing something of a transition, as the reality hit home. It is the end of an era, the last goodbye to one of the great Liverpool teams.

The tears that rolled freely down the ashen cheeks of Roberto Firmino displayed his understanding of the finality of it, his last game at Anfield. The response from the Kop said the same.

And even though it is still mathematically possible for the Reds to play at Europe’s high table next season, the reality is clear: this will be the first time in a full season under Jurgen Klopp, that the club has failed to qualify for the Champions League.

So the sadness could be forgiven, and a certain amount of trepidation too. Can Klopp rebuild to the same heights? Will the top players even want to come to a club that cannot offer the ultimate European destinations?

For Virgil van Dijk though, there is no question of fear for the future. “I’m very excited for next season,” he says when challenged about the task ahead. “That feeling came a couple of months ago when we turned the page.”

The inspirational leader knows that football life still goes on, even when chapters as glorious as Liverpool’s recent history come to an end. Even when key players like Roberto Firmino, James Milner, Naby Keita and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain depart.

Virgil van Dijk is hopeful Liverpool are back on track



Nick Taylor/Liverpool FC)

But he argues that the new look Liverpool is already in place, and had been showing their potential on a seven-match winning run, before this frustrating draw against Villa:‌ “Obviously there’s still a lot to work on but the good thing, in this case, is that we have the whole pre-season to work on this and that’s definitely the plan.

“The noises I’m hearing, it’s going to be a very intense pre-season with a lot of physical work but also a lot of tactical work trying to get ready for a tough season. That’s very exciting.”

The question is, can Klopp weave his magic to find the next great generation, discover pearls like Sadio Mane, or Firmino, or leaders like Milner, without Champions League football?‌

For van Dijk, there is no question. “Players are leaving, players come in and will be ready. I think everyone that can come in and improve us will help the football club and push us all. It’s always good,” he says.

“If I’m a player on the rise and I have options to go to the next step and Liverpool is knocking on my door, then I would be very, very interested. I don’t think it’s going to change much if we’re not in the Champions League.

“Everybody knows we’ve been going through a little bit of a transition and we’ll miss the players leaving, not only Bobby, I’ll miss each and every one of them. They have all played their part, they’ve been successful, and they’re respected.‌

“But we have some exciting young players, yeah, and that will be the focus next season, to make sure everyone’s ready to contribute, no matter what age you are.”

For van Dijk, it is the end of an era, but far from the end of Liverpool as a force.

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