Virgil van Dijk reflected on Sunday’s goalless draw with Everton by stating: “We’re one step closer to our goal.”
Liverpool resumed their Premier League season at Goodison Park, with the 236th Merseyside derby proving to be a game of few clear-cut chances as both teams readjusted to the rigours of competitive football after a break of around three-and-a-half months.
The stalemate leaves the Reds 23 points clear of second-placed Manchester City in the table, with Crystal Palace’s visit to Anfield their next assignment on Wednesday.
Asked what he made of the clash with the Blues, Van Dijk told Sky Sports: “It’s pretty difficult to say at the moment. I think it was very intense, I think both sides created small opportunities – obviously they had maybe the biggest one [from Tom Davies] off the post.
“Apart from that, I think at times we created some small opportunities, we had the ball quite a lot, and unfortunately we couldn’t find the breakthrough of course, which would have been the most important thing.
“But I think everyone is just happy to be back. We didn’t lose and it’s another step closer to our goal as well.”
Jürgen Klopp’s side enjoyed nearly 70 per cent possession but were unable to find a way through - a fact Van Dijk put down to the defensive organisation of the hosts.
The centre-back continued: “First of all, they’re not bad defensively. You have to give them credit for that, they kept it tight, they kept it compact and that’s what we expect from a Carlo Ancelotti team as well.
“It was tough for them to find the breakthrough and for us as well, and I think it was a very intense game.”
Van Dijk feels Liverpool’s players will benefit from now having first-hand experience of playing a Premier League match behind closed doors as they approach the final eight fixtures of the campaign.
“[I feel] A lot better,” he said.
“Obviously everyone didn’t know really what to expect, the whole procedure before the game and how things will go, and it was just good to be back out there and I think it’s a fantastic game to be playing, your first game after so long, and hopefully we can keep the good things for Wednesday and do well at home.
“We’re a step closer. Obviously we wanted to win, we wanted to get the three points today, but we’re another step closer. We’ll try to improve every time and we’ll see how that will develop over the next couple of weeks.”