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Van Dijk: Chelsea should not underestimate injury-laden Liverpool

Virgil van Dijk cautions Chelsea against underestimating Liverpool, emphasizing that even without Mohamed Salah and Darwin Nunez, they remain a formidable opponent.

Jurgen Klopp’s team showcased their attacking prowess in the midweek fixture against Luton, rallying from behind to secure a convincing 4-1 victory in the second half.

Both Salah and Nunez are undergoing late fitness assessments ahead of Sunday’s Carabao Cup final, with Salah experiencing fatigue in his return match against Brentford after recovering from a hamstring injury, and Nunez being substituted as a precaution at halftime of the same game.

Despite the absence of key players like Diogo Jota, who is already ruled out due to injury, Liverpool still possess goal-scoring threats in players like Cody Gakpo and Luis Diaz, both of whom have reached double figures this season.

Van Dijk stresses that Chelsea should not interpret Liverpool’s injury situation as an opportunity for an easier match, especially considering their desire to avenge their loss to Liverpool in the League Cup final two years ago.

Virgil van Dijk admits Chelsea are not the team they dismantled last month

“If they take us lightly then that’s their problem. That fear factor, we don’t have influence on that,” said the Netherlands captain.

“I think the players coming in then have to step up and show they’re wrong. And I think that’s the only way to do it.

“I think we have enough quality to read the opponents. Players who come in have to show that.

“Everyone has to step up and the ones that play have to deliver to get results. I think if you play for Liverpool, you’re quite a good player already, so go out there and make everyone proud.”

“It’s important, but the most important thing is to try and win the game, and then we’ll see what happens after,” added the Dutchman.

“I visualise myself leading the boys out, but I don’t think about me lifting anything.

“I try to lead out the boys as good as possible, on and off the pitch, be their leader and so far, so good.

“So I’m thinking about a big challenge ahead of us. Hopefully we can make it an amazing afternoon on Sunday.”

In terms of whether victory at Wembley can provide a springboard for more silverware – Liverpool are still fighting on three other fronts – Van Dijk said: “We’ll focus on trying to win the game and then we’ll see.

“You know we can’t think about what’s coming next, we have to think about what’s ahead of us and that’s Chelsea at this stage.

“It’ll be a very difficult game, an interesting game as well. We have to be very good to do that, but let’s go for it.”

Ethan Dempsey
Ethan Dempsey
Ethan is a lifelong football fan. When he is not obsessing over the Premier League games, Ethan likes to read fantasy tomes, watch football documentaries and waste hours upon hours on video games.
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