Virgil van Dijk has attempted to make sense of Liverpool’s poor 2022/23 season so far, naming one key reason as to why they have struggled.
After winning both domestic cups and going agonisingly close to completing an unprecedented quadruple last season, the Reds have been slow out of the blocks this term.
Jurgen Klopp’s side head into the winter break sixth in the Premier League table, seven points off a top-four spot, while they have drawn Real Madrid in the last 16 of the Champions League.
Van Dijk has admitted that Liverpool’s season so far has been a ‘strange’ one, but pointed to the unusual schedule due to having a winter World Cup as one of the main reasons behind their plight.
“I would say the last couple of months has been just strange. Everyone is trying to find consistency, not only us as a team and as a club, but if you look at other teams around it is just difficult. No-one really can put a finger on it,” he said.
“Obviously a big part of this is because there is going to be a such a big break coming up and the World Cup and players getting injured, players not fully fit. It was strange, it was difficult for everyone, but I can only speak for us because I’m in the middle of it.
“But it was good to find a bit of stability in the last couple of games. Obviously a lot of players will still work during the break after a holiday period first. It was good to reach 22 points.”
Van Dijk will now meet up with the Netherlands national side ahead of his first international tournament.
Marcus Rashford pays tribute to late friend with goal celebration
Marcus Rashford has revealed that his celebration following his first goal against Wales was a tribute to a friend who’d recently passed away.
The Man Utd man was in electric form for the Three Lions on Tuesday evening, scoring a brace and catapulting himself to the top of the tournament goalscoring charts in the process. In scoring his second and third goal in Qatar, Rahsford became the first Man Utd player to score three goals at a World Cup for England since Sir Bobby Charlton achieved the feat way back in 1966.
Speaking after the game to the press, Rashford revealed that he pointed to the sky following his first goal in order to pay tribute to his friend who passed away following a long battle with cancer:
“I lost one of my friends a couple of days ago. He had quite a long battle with cancer. I’m pleased I scored for him, he was a big supporter and good friend of mine. He was someone who came into my life.”
Rashford also gave an assessment of the game itself and his overall performance stating: “I fancied a free-kick in the first half, but the one in the second half was in a better position. From there it’s about being calm and executing what you do in training. They don’t go in often but I was glad it did today.
“It’s a great feeling. We were a bit disappointed after the USA game, and the only way to bounce back is to have a good performance in your next game; I thought we did it. It was just about taking the chances when they came.”
Harry Symeou hosts Scott Saunders and Toby Cudworth to look back on South Korea/Japan ’02 as part of the ‘Our World Cup’ series. We take a trip down memory lane – join us!
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Tottenham ask Inter about availability of key player
Tottenham Hotspur have made enquiries to Inter over right wing-back Denzel Dumfries, 90min understands.
Spurs are on the hunt for reinforcements at wing-back, with 90min previously reporting that one of Emerson Royal and Matt Doherty could be sold in January, while a loan move for Djed Spence looks likely.
On their list of targets is Dumfries, who is currently at the World Cup with the Netherlands. Inter need to sell one star player by the end of the season to help ease their financial woes.
It was previously thought that Milan Skriniar would be the man to make way, but he will either sign a new contract or leave for free when his current deal expires at the end of the season.
Instead, Inter will look to sell Dumfries in January and loan him back for the rest of the season, though Spurs would push to take him off their hands straight away.
Scott Saunders hosts Graeme Bailey in the latest episode of Talking Transfers, discussing Cristiano Ronaldo’s interview and his future, Man Utd’s interest in Cody Gakpo, plus the latest on Endrick and Rafael Leao. Available on all audio platforms.
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In addition to Tottenham, Chelsea are also interested in the Dutchman, and this could drive Dumfries’ price up.
Dumfries signed for Inter in 2021 as a replacement for the outgoing Achraf Hakimi, whose sale partly contributed to the exit of current Spurs head coach Antonio Conte.
He scored five goals from wing-back in his debut season at San Siro and has found the net twice more this term.
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