Defender Virgil van Dijk realises consistency will be the key if Liverpool are to topple Manchester City as Premier League champions.
Despite what the Dutch international captain described as an “almost complete” performance in Sunday’s dismantling of West Ham, Van Dijk knows there will be more difficult hurdles to overcome.
Liverpool finished 25 points adrift in fourth place last season having drawn 12 matches. Van Dijk said it was those kind of results they needed to eradicate.
“The most important thing is that we look at ourselves,” he said when asked about competing with City.
We know that right now we have a great squad. We have a lot of quality players. Everyone who plays for Liverpool has a lot of quality. It’s all about being consistent. We want to challenge for any competition.
“I do not feel any pressure in that case but we play every game to win, that’s how our mindset is. Our focus was good (against West Ham) and now we recover before focusing on Crystal Palace next Monday, which is going to be a very tough game.
“It’s just one game. We had a good pre-season with good results and games where we’ve played very well.
But we can do a lot better and it’s just the start. I think the key is we need to be very consistent and do it every game.
Midfielder Georginio Wijnaldum believes increased competition within the squad will be crucial to claiming a first league title since 1990.
Wijnaldum was given the holding role in Henderson’s absence and performed well but the three-man midfield Jurgen Klopp put out was arguably not his first choice.
Only two of their four summer arrivals were in their starting line-up at the weekend. Midfielder Naby Keita had a far more influential game than £65m goalkeeper Alisson Becker while Xherdan Shaqiri was given just eight minutes and Fabinho never got off the bench.
Adam Lallana likewise was not given any pitch-time and club captain Jordan Henderson got just 20 minutes and still the Reds cruised to victory.
The options now available to the manager mean players have to be on top of their games if they want to keep their place.
I think each position there is competition and it’s good at Liverpool,” said Wijnaldum.
“If you see that there’s a player (in your position) and you play for a big team, you just have to do your best for the manager. I think it’s quite normal. It has to be normal at a club like Liverpool.”