Liverpool defender Virgil van Dijk has confessed the team must remember how to play with joy and freedom after their miserable start to the season continued with a 3-3 draw at home to Brighton on Saturday.
The Reds went 2-0 down and ended up throwing away their comeback lead late on, leaving them ninth in the Premier League with just ten points from seven games - 11 behind league leaders Arsenal, who have played one game extra.
Plenty of Jurgen Klopp's players have faced criticism for their poor showings this year, including Van Dijk, and the Dutchman confessed that Liverpool have found it hard to be themselves this season.
“Consistency is the most difficult part of football,” Van Dijk said. “You have to do that together, and deal with setbacks together, and keep doing the same things you want to do. Obviously we’ve had some setbacks, and it is difficult to react the right way if you are not in the best possible shape, all of us.
“But I’m confident that we will be. What is it? Four months ago we were playing for all the titles, now we are not in the best moment...but we will get there.”
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Asked whether Liverpool were still reeling from falling short in their pursuit of silverware last season, Van Dijk was adamant that had nothing to do with what is happening this year.
“There is no hangover from that,” he stressed. “Defending starts from the front and we all do that together.
“And teams obviously are getting better, we play in the best league in the world, where all the teams are able to compete with each other, and we have to get back to that consistency, and play with joy and freedom. But it all starts with doing it together and working hard.”
With Rangers heading to Anfield on Tuesday for some Champions League action, Van Dijk urged Liverpool to use the opportunity to show what has made them so dangerous over the past few seasons.
”Pressure, and that is always what we try to do,” he said. “Get in the right spaces and do it all together. We’ve been doing it for five years on a consistent basis, and we have to get back to that. And we have to stick together.”