Virgil van Dijk credits world-class talent and determination as reasons for Liverpool’s resilience this season.

The 3-1 win at Southampton on Friday night was the third consecutive Premier League match the Reds have secured victory after being faced with the prospect of dropping points.

The league leaders now turn their attention towards the Champions League as FC Porto arrive at Anfield on Tuesday for the first leg of a quarter-final tie.

Liverpool emerged 5-0 aggregate victors in last season’s Round of 16 meeting with the Portuguese side, although Van Dijk is aware that will have no bearing on the rematch.

The centre-half addressed the assembled media at Anfield on Monday afternoon and was quizzed about an expected Porto response, Mohamed Salah and the character of this Liverpool team.

Read on for a transcript of the No.4’s press conference…

On potentially winning the Premier League and Champions League…

We’re still in the race so it’s possible of course. But I think it’s still a bit too far [away] to think about it. We have to take it game by game. We know that any points that we drop or any slip-up can cost us and that’s the same for them. The only thing we can do is just keep going. It starts tomorrow for us in the Champions League as well.

On Salah’s mood after his goal at Southampton…

Fantastic. He’s always lively, always happy, always wants to work hard and gives everything for the team. I think that’s what Liverpool is all about. Everyone is giving everything for the team, for the club. Obviously he didn’t score for a couple of games, but I think the pressure or the talk only came from the press and the media. He was playing well, he was very important for us and he’s still having a fantastic season.

On whether the squad can look beyond the next game…

Well sometimes you have time to think. What I said before and I can say it every time, it’s game by game. Tomorrow is going to be a big game because hopefully we set a base to take with us to Porto. We know how tough it can be over there. But in the Premier League we know that any points dropped, any slip-up can end our title dreams. The only thing we will do is focus [on] what’s ahead of us and tomorrow that’s Porto and after that will be Chelsea. That’s the only way we should think and that’s what we try to do as well.  

On the team finding ways to win…

We have so much quality in the team, so much talent. But I think [it’s down to] the hard work that we put in every day in training, during the whole game, the strikers that keep pressing, defending well, our midfielders that keep running and doing everything for the team and play well when we have the ball. Working hard for the team, working hard for each other, go the extra yard for your teammates, I think that’s something that’s very important. It has been shown already throughout the whole season.

On playing with freedom in the Champions League…

We should play with freedom anyway. I think we should also in the Premier League, otherwise we can’t show our qualities properly. I don’t think there’s any time for slip-ups in the Champions League either. [Porto] are at this stage because they deserve to be in it and they’re going to be coming for revenge as well because they don’t want to experience what happened last year. We just need to keep doing what we’ve been doing almost the whole season – that’s playing well, defending well and enjoying every bit of it as well.

On how much of a miss the suspended Andy Robertson will be against Porto…

No, we won’t miss him at all! Of course he’s going to be missed. Together with myself, we’ve been playing in the back four for most of the games. For me personally, he’s having a great season. I think he’s the best left-back in the country and we’re definitely going to miss him. But it is how it is. I didn’t play against Bayern [Munich] and Fabinho did the job fantastically, so someone needs to fill his spot tomorrow. I’m very confident that it will be fine.

On whether last season’s result will have a psychological impact on both teams…

I think we, as players, know how things work. You can play a team and win 3-0, but the week after or two weeks after something changes and you can lose the game. I think the most important thing is that we know what we are going to face and we need to be ready for anything that’s coming. We need to show what we’ve been showing throughout the whole season and that’s been playing well, defending well and getting a result and hopefully going through to the semis.

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