Reds defender Virgil van Dijk has spoken about his goals after taking the place of Jordan Henderson as captain this season.
van Dijk admits he was “sad” Jordan Henderson left Liverpool – but believes the Reds are in much better physical shape going into this season compared to the troubled preparations of last term.
Van Dijk was last week confirmed as the new Liverpool club captain in succession to Henderson, who left to join Saudi Pro League side Al-Ettifaq and link up with his own predecessor in the role, Steven Gerrard.
Henderson spent the last seven of his 12 years at Anfield as skipper, and became the only captain of an English club to lift the league, European Cup, FA Cup, League Cup and Club World Cup.
And Van Dijk has said he would sign up right now if he could guarantee similar success wearing the armband.
“Obviously we won everything together, and I was very sad to see him leave, to be honest,” said the Holland international. “But that’s football, that’s life, and he has the right to do that in this case. He made that decision, but if I can be as successful as he was as a captain then I would sign (up) for that immediately.
“It’s step by step. I’m looking for consistency from our side, winning games, winning them the hard way at times, finding a way and creating a positive atmosphere where we all do it together. That includes the fans as well. That’s how I want to attack the season and give everyone the assurance that we give everything for one another. Hopefully we will be successful.”
Van Dijk said further: “It is a very proud moment to be captain of this football club. I have been here for almost six years now and it is an incredible feeling and like I said I will do everything in my power to make the club and the fans proud. Hopefully we can get success and silverware as well.”
Liverpool ended their pre-season preparations on Monday with a 3-1 win over Bundesliga side SV Darmstadt at Preston, having followed a training camp with a two-game Far East tour.
It was the reverse of last summer when, after a spate of injuries, an undercooked Reds side struggled to gain momentum early on and suffered a poor start to the campaign.
“I feel it was a good pre-season, I think it worked quite well to have the first camp in Germany and then in Singapore,” said Van Dijk.
“I think we all feel much fitter than we were at this point last year, at least that’s my feeling, obviously there is still work to be done on the pitch with the way we play and defend, so let’s keep that going and make sure it is perfect for the Premier League and the rest of the season.”