Liverpool’s second-half performance at Southampton was another example of their title credentials, declared Virgil van Dijk.

Jürgen Klopp’s side fought back from an early deficit at St Mary’s, with Naby Keita’s header cancelling out Shane Long’s strike for the hosts.

There was work still to do after the interval, though, and the visitors’ determination forced two late goals in front of the away supporters.

Mohamed Salah ran the length of the Southampton half and clipped in a finish to edge Liverpool in front and Jordan Henderson added gloss to the turnaround soon after.

It was another exhibition of character by the Reds and Van Dijk pointed to that never-say-die attitude as the reason for their challenge for Premier League glory.

“I think the first half was difficult because we made it difficult,” the No.4, who captained the side from the start, told Liverpoolfc.com post-match.

“The gaps were too big and obviously they scored the first goal and it was going to be difficult because it gave them belief.

“In the second half I thought we showed why we are top of the league and challenging for the Premier League.”

The result on the south coast increased Liverpool’s points tally to 82 from 33 games, two ahead of reigning champions Manchester City having played one match more.

Accruing such a significant total is down to the players’ unshakeable belief in their ability to find a way through any opponent, according to Van Dijk.

“The most important thing is to just keep on doing what we’ve been doing all season,” continued the centre-back.

“We are always going to be dangerous with the players we have, with the way we play, and you saw it was always going to be difficult to defend against us for 90 minutes for them.

“There was [always] going to be some spaces, some opportunities, and you need the quality that we have as well to step up, and [it was] fantastic.”

Each of Liverpool’s goals represented landmarks for the scorers.

Keita opened his account for the club, Salah notched his 50th in the Premier League for the Reds at a record speed, and Henderson was on target for the first time this season.

“I’m very pleased for all three of them as Hendo doesn’t score too many goals but it was a big goal,” reflected Van Dijk.

“It was a great assist from Bobby for the goal and obviously Mo’s goal was very important. It was a first goal for Naby, who is working very hard every day in training so to get the start and score a goal was fantastic for him.”

Five Premier League fixtures remain for Liverpool after the latest in a series of hard-fought, challenging victories in recent weeks.

For Van Dijk, the message for the matches ahead is simple.

“Keep going,” he stated.

“Like I said, it’s difficult for teams to defend us for 90 minutes. There’s going to be spaces and we need to try to exploit those spaces.

“We showed, especially after 75 minutes, we are capable to do it. We have shown that in many games before but you could see it clearly.”

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