MX23RW : Tuesday, June 15 19:58:03| >> :120:6757:6757:
Feb 24, 2020 at 8pm UK at Anfield
Attendance: 53,313
Liverpool
3-2
West HamWest Ham United
Wijnaldum (9'), Salah (68'), Mane (81')
FT(HT: 1-1)
Diop (12'), Fornals (54')

Virgil van Dijk brushes off suggestions of Liverpool nerves

The Reds require just four wins to claim the Premier League title.

Liverpool defender Virgil Van Dijk is always the calmest man on the pitch but he believes none of his team-mates have suffered from nerves in their charge towards a first league title in 30 years.

The requirement for the Reds to end their long wait for a domestic championship now stands at just four wins after they came from behind to beat West Ham 3-2 at Anfield.

Jurgen Klopp's side may be cruising with a 22-point lead at the top of the table but they have still had to come through some challenges to their season-long unbeaten record recently.

They were 2-1 down to the Hammers with 22 minutes to go while they beat Norwich with a solitary 78th-minute goal and Van Dijk has praised the players' mental fortitude.

"Not being nervous, that is the main thing," was Van Dijk's reason behind the success, having won 26 and drawn just one of their 27 Premier League matches.

"Keep going and keep playing and keep pressing. There will be moments when the opponent is going to have problems if we keep doing the same thing.

"They (West Ham) were a little bit better in the second half than the beginning, they played quite well but I think not being nervous is the main thing."

West Ham's opening goal by Issa Diop was the first conceded at Anfield in 11 hours and 27 minutes.

Liverpool's defensive resilience has been one of the cornerstones on which their successful season has been built so when they do concede it often comes as a shock.

"We can't keep clean sheets every night," added Van Dijk. "The first (for West Ham) was a set-piece: we should look at it but they are good at set-pieces.

"The second goal I should maybe have got a bit tighter (to goalscorer Pablo Fornals) but at the end of the day it is about getting the result.

"We all want the clean sheet, we all want eight goals, that is what every footballer wants but in reality sometimes you have difficult nights.

"We had a difficult night but we kept our cool and that is the main thing."

Since returning from their mid-season break Klopp's side appear to have lacked some of the fluency they had previously, labouring to beat Norwich and West Ham by the odd goal and losing to Atletico Madrid in the first leg of their Champions League last-16 tie in Spain.

Virgil Van Dijk hit the crossbar with a header against West Ham
Virgil Van Dijk hit the crossbar with a header against West Ham (Peter Byrne/PA)

However, Van Dijk insists the time off has not dulled their fire.

"I think we should take advantage of the break we had," said the Dutchman. "Everyone had their time off, we all enjoyed it and we are all ready for the second part of the season.

"If you are looking for negatives then so be it but we want to win games, we know it is going to be tough every game.

"We will just keep going and stay positive and not get nervous. That is the main thing."

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Tables
TeamPWDLFAGDPTS
CManchester CityMan City38275683325186
2Manchester UnitedMan Utd382111673442974
3Liverpool38209968422669
4Chelsea381910958362267
5Leicester CityLeicester382061268501866
6West Ham UnitedWest Ham381981162471565
7Tottenham HotspurSpurs381881268452362
8Arsenal381871355391661
9Leeds UnitedLeeds38185156254859
10Everton38178134748-159
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12Newcastle UnitedNewcastle38129174662-1645
13Wolverhampton WanderersWolves38129173652-1645
14Crystal Palace38128184166-2544
15Southampton38127194768-2143
16Brighton & Hove AlbionBrighton38914154046-641
17Burnley38109193355-2239
RFulham38513202753-2628
RWest Bromwich AlbionWest Brom38511223576-4126
RSheffield UnitedSheff Utd3872292063-4323

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