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Van Dijk: We were ready and up for it

Virgil Van Dijk has hailed Liverpool's statement of intent as they sent a clear message to their title rivals that they are in it for the long haul after a comprehensive 5-0 thrashing of Watford on Wednesday evening.

 

Having beaten the Hornets 5-0 and 6-1 in the previous two meetings between the sides at Anfield, the result was perhaps somewhat predictable and this would have been an ideal opportunity to cash in using betting bonuses.

With the absence of Roberto Firmino due to a ankle injury, it was up to the likes of Mo Salah and Sadio Mane to carry a bit more responsibility.

The Senegalese star took the lead role scoring twice in the opening 20 minutes one with a close range header and his second courtesy of a piece of outrageous individual skill.

Divock Origi made the most of a rare start by scoring his second league goal of the season midway through the second half when he cut inside and fired a low drive in between three Watford players and past Ben Foster's near post.

The cream on a pretty tasty cake was delivered by Van Dijk when he was in the right place to head home two pin-point crosses from Trent-Alexander Arnold and Andy Robertson in the space of just three minutes.

While it has been a season of impressive performances, this was arguably one of the best of the season with players all over the pitch playing their role to perfection.

The big Dutchman doubled his goal tally for the club on the evening and while admitting while it is always nice to be on the scoresheet, he was much more impressed with the overall performance.

The Official site reported Van Dijk as saying:

“It was a great performance overall, we dominated and had a lot of great possession.

" Especially in the first half, we played very well. 

"They couldn’t really find a solution for our press. We scored some great goals and obviously it was very nice to be on the scoresheet.”

 

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There has been a lot of chatter about the lack of goals and loss of form of key players over the past few games.

It is easy to get swept into the whirlpool of opinions that surround the game, but Van Dijk said the players and manager only had one thing on their mind and that was defeating Watford.

"Everyone has their opinion on the race.

"For us, it’s just a case of focusing on the game ahead of us and it was Watford. We prepared it very well, even if [the preparation] was very short.

"We were all ready for it and up for it – we wanted to show our fans and ourselves we play like this the whole season. We have to enjoy it. 

"I’m not worried about anything apart from what’s [going on] in the dressing room and the guys that have influence on our performance. 

"Other than that, I’m just enjoying every bit of it.”

Van Dijk also paid tribute to the performance of Trent Alexander-Arnold who contributed a hat-trick of assists on the evening.

"His crossing and delivery is top-class, he has been showing it throughout the season. To get three assists is special.”

This game loomed as a danger game when you took in the recent impressive form of the Hornets and their campaign as a whole.

With that box ticked in emphatic style, the Merseyside Derby now looms large on the horizon.

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