James Milner revealed the hunger to end Liverpool's wait for silverware after the first step towards FA Cup success was taken with a 2-1 victory over Everton in the third round.
The Reds’ most recent addition to the trophy cabinet was back in 2012 when the League Cup was claimed at Wembley under the guidance of Kenny Dalglish, with defeats in the finals of that same competition and the Europa League during Jürgen Klopp’s first season the closest they have come since.
Milner and co set themselves on the right pathway to change that statistic with a hard-fought win against their neighbours at Anfield, though, and the vice-captain is well aware of the desire to do so as soon as possible.
“We want to win trophies – that’s why we’re all here. This is one that we can win,” the No.7, who opened the scoring from the penalty spot, told Liverpoolfc.com.
“It’s the early stages and there are a lot of tough games to come, I’m sure. Everyone loves the FA Cup, whether you’re playing a top team like Everton or a lower-league side it’s never easy. It’s a fantastic competition to win and it’s time we put another bit of silverware on the board.”
For a time it looked like Milner’s first-half penalty, coolly lofted into the middle of Jordan Pickford’s goal 10 minutes before the interval, might be enough to decide the 230th Merseyside derby.
But the visitors struck back midway through the second half as Gylfi Sigurdsson clinically capped off a quick counter-attack to set up a fascinating final stanza of the tie.
And the ultimate word went to Virgil van Dijk. The debutant met Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain’s corner at the Kop end with a header past Pickford to hand Liverpool a third consecutive win by a 2-1 scoreline.
“We responded very well. We have got better and better at that, especially over the last couple of months when we have gone behind we have stayed calm and kept playing the right way,” reflected Milner.
“It’s easy to lose your shape and get a bit frantic and press on a bit too much. But we have responded very well to conceding goals and we did that well again. We were patient and the big man came up with the winner.”
For Van Dijk the evening was a fairytale.
Initially informed on the morning of the game that he would not be in the starting line-up, the centre-back was soon told otherwise and, when the moment came, marked his Anfield bow with a performance already impressive enough before his crucial intervention.
“That’s why he has been brought here. He is a top player and to step in like he did, into a big game like that, is the reason why he has come – to play in those sorts of games,” said Milner.
“He handled the occasion fantastically and defended well. He has already shown he is going to be a big threat in the other box. I’m delighted for him; you always want your debut to go well and it couldn’t have gone much better for him.”