Liverpool defender Virgil van Dijk has opened up about the mood at the club towards the end of last season, when it looked like they were set to miss out on both Premier League and Champions League glory.
They may have finished a point behind Manchester City in the league, but the Reds overturned a 3-0 deficit against Barcelona in the Champions League semi-final en route to lifting Europe’s most prestigious trophy.
Speaking to France Football, Van Dijk confessed that, after losing against Barcelona, the Liverpool players felt like their season was set to end miserably, but the support of the fans spurred them on.
He said: “When we lost the first leg of the semi-final in Barcelona, we were completely down, really very low morally.
“The weekend before the return match, we played in Newcastle, and we won 3-2, scoring in the last minute. On Sunday, we all watched the game where Manchester City won beat Leicester thanks to Vincent Kompany’s incredible goal.
“It was very difficult for us because, in our heads, we understood that City would not give up and that our season could end two days later, with the return match against Barcelona. Now, we had to perform a miracle.
“It was when we arrived at the stadium that we started to believe that it was possible, when we saw the fervour, the atmosphere, the fans who supported us. It was the trigger! We realised it could be a magical night.”
Asked whether he felt the expectation of ending Liverpool’s long wait for the Premier League title, Van Dijk responded: “
Finally, he touched on his chances of winning the Ballon d’Or, insisting that he feels no pressure to win the prestigious award.
“Honestly, not at all. For the simple reason that it is a vote, and that I have no control or influence over it. I can’t do anything to change people’s opinion of me,” Van Dijk added.
“I am very proud to be among the candidates, but the only thing I can do is keep my feet on the ground, and try to do even better than last season.”