Van Dijk asks fans to stay patient as Liverpool push for title

Liverpool defender Virgil van Dijk has urged patience as the pressure increases in the title run-in.

The Reds extended their lead at the top of the Premier League to five points over Manchester City with a 1-1 draw at home to Leicester.

Frustration grew among a large number of fans at Anfield throughout the second half and there was disappointment at the final whistle at the sense this was a missed opportunity after City’s surprise defeat to Newcastle the previous night.

Van Dijk understands the sentiments, which were transmitted to the players on the pitch, but insists they are not warranted just yet with such a long way to go in the season.

“Obviously you get that feeling from the crowd and I think it’s not really necessary at the moment,” said the Holland captain.

“But obviously everyone wants to win so bad and that’s what we want as well, but sometimes you need to be very patient.

“In the end it’s all about showing on the pitch and we’re not going to be affected by that.

“We want everyone to cheer us on and keep pushing even if we have tough moments, even if we’re 1-0 down or maybe more.

“We just need everyone to pull in the same direction and keep going, that’s the only way forward.”

Part of the problem was many fans arrived expecting a simple three points, with Leicester on a three-match losing run and Liverpool trying to extend a seven-game winning league sequence at Anfield.

The draw was not for a lack of effort, with a couple of decent penalty shouts being turned down and Harry Maguire escaping with a yellow card for bringing down fellow goalscorer Sadio Mane as the Senegal international threatened to break clean through on goal.

Asked what was missing from the performance, Van Dijk added: “I don’t know, a bit of luck I think, a bit of extra edge maybe that we sometimes have a little bit more than last night.

“There are a lot of circumstances that play a part. They are a good team, they play good football, great players, and for us we were just not lucky enough I think.”

The mantra maintained by manager Jurgen Klopp and his players is that they are focused on themselves and do not pay attention to what City are doing.

For that reason, Van Dijk said the surprise Newcastle sprang at St James’ Park barely registered with the squad when they assembled on match day.

“We were just preparing for the game: in the morning we trained and nobody talked about it. We just focused on our game and it was a very tough game,” added the £75million centre-back.

“That’s not something that we focus on. That they lose is obviously not good for them but it’s obviously good for us for the title race.

“But there are so many games left. Anything can happen and you saw that against a good (Leicester) side.”

- Press Association

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