Virgil van Dijk is keen to add more goals to his game which could help get Liverpool’s Premier League title challenge over the line.
The Holland defender scored twice in the midweek 5-0 win against Watford but that only took his tally to four in 56 appearances since his £75 million move to Anfield in January 2018.
Van Dijk is imperious in his own penalty area but accepts being more effective at the other end is something he is working on—although being 6’4″ makes him a target for special treatment from opposition defenders.
“For myself, personally, to get two goals was great but I’m more satisfied with the clean sheet because if you are 2-0 up at the break sometimes you can get sloppy in the second half and I thought we were focused,” said the Dutchman.
“Most of the time with set-pieces I’m always marked by the opponent’s best header.
“It is something I am aware that I need to improve. I am working on it, trying to get better with it, and the only way to improve is to train and work.”
Van Dijk scored with two headers, with assists from full-backs Trent Alexander-Arnold and Andy Robertson and he believes that is an area the Reds can continue to benefit from.
“The crosses were amazing,” he added.
“They have been doing it throughout the whole season. The quality of crossing is always good from both full-backs, and for Trent to get three assists and Robbo to get two is outstanding.”
Liverpool head to Goodison Park for the Merseyside derby but by the time they arrive on Sunday they could have lost top spot in the Premier League to Manchester City, who play 24 hours earlier.
After visiting Old Trafford last weekend Jurgen Klopp’s side come up against another set of fans who would love nothing more than to see their rivals fail to end their 29-year wait for a league title.
For Van Dijk, however, it just adds extra spice.
“I like it to be fair,” he added. “It is always something which motivates you even more and it is a great game to play in.
“It’s the derby and it’s special but we want to show our quality, win the game—hopefully with good football but if not, we are going to fight for it.
“I didn’t look at recent games from them but it will be a game full of passion.
“Obviously you don’t want to lose that game—but you don’t want to lose any game.
“For us the task is to play our game like we have been doing all season.”
The last derby at Anfield in December is still viewed by many Everton fans as the game that ruined their season.
Since Jordan Pickford’s error allowed Divock Origi to score an added-time winner the Toffees have had a run of 15 league matches in which they have won just four times and lost nine.
Ahead of that game three months ago they were sixth in the table, six points off fourth spot. They now host their neighbours sitting ninth and 20 points adrift of the Champions League positions.
“Wow! I didn’t even know that. It’s not going to change the game,” said Van Dijk.
“Their approach will be different to what has been going on and they had a good result on Tuesday night.
“They now have a good feeling but it will be a totally different game and I’m looking forward to it.
“We should all look forward to it and all be full of confidence as well.”