Virgil van Dijk: Liverpool can still attract top talent even without Champions League football
Virgil van Dijk: Liverpool can still attract top talent even without Champions League football
Van Dijk: Liverpool can attract top players without Champions League

Virgil van Dijk is confident Liverpool will be able to sign the players they need to get back to their best next season even without Champions League football.

The Reds' hopes of securing a Premier League top-four finish were dented on Saturday afternoon as they were held to a 1-1 draw by Aston Villa at Anfield.

They now need either Manchester United or Newcastle United to lose both their remaining fixtures and to win at Southampton on the final day to stand any chance of sneaking into Europe's premier cup competition.

But, when asked if a failure to qualify might affect the club's hopes of securing top talent this summer, Van Dijk replied: "No. Pre-season will be massive. 

"Everybody knows we've been going through a little bit of a transition and, if I'm a player on the rise and I have options to go to the next step and Liverpool is knocking on my door, then I would be very, very interested. 

"I don't think it's going to change much but, if someone wants to play Champions League no matter what, then that's their ambition."

MORE: Why are Roberto Firmino, James Milner leaving Liverpool and where are they going next?

Virgil van Dijk hit Roberto Firmino's celebration in his final game at Anfield 🥺

— ESPN UK (@ESPNUK) May 20, 2023

Despite their disappointment over Saturday's draw, Liverpool remain in the midst of a 10-match unbeaten run that has featured seven wins.

And that improvement, which has been brought about by a recent change of system, has Van Dijk looking forward to the new season already.

He added: "I'm very excited for next season. I think that feeling came a couple of months ago when we turned the page. 

"Obviously there's still a lot to work on but the good thing in this case is that we have the whole pre-season to work on this and that's definitely the plan. 

"The noises I'm hearing, it's going to be a very intense pre-season with a lot of physical work but also a lot of tactical work trying to get ready for a tough season. That's very exciting. 

"Players are leaving, hopefully players come in and will be ready for the start of pre-season.

"I think everyone that can come in and improve all of us that will help the football club and push us all. It's always good."

MORE: Updated Premier League table and the top-four chase

Liverpool's final home game of the season also saw Anfield bid an emotional farewell to Roberto Firmino, who marked the occasion by coming on to net a late equaliser.

Van Dijk admits his Brazilian teammate's departure has left the Reds needing to replace one of the best 'false nines' in the business, but believes his compatriot Cody Gakpo is showing encouraging signs that he could be the one to fill the void.

He continued: "I think it's a very, very difficult role to play and I think Cody's doing exceptional. He's still learning, still adapting. 

"In my opinion, Bobby has been one of the best in this role. Cody, it's his first six months and he's already doing so well, that's a positive sign and he has to keep going, keep both feet on the ground, and listen to me!"

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