dWhen coach Jürgen Klopp said goodbye to Liverpool FC at the end of the season, Virgil van Dijk was also a little worried. “I dread that day,” the captain of the English top-flight soccer team told ITV News on Wednesday. “There will be many changes and more employees will leave. It will be a difficult day, but until that day comes we will fight and stay positive and put all our attention into it,” said the 32-year-old.

But he is “a very emotional person” who doesn't like goodbyes. Klopp brought the defensive star to the Reds from Southampton FC in January 2018 for around €84.5 million. Last summer, the 56-year-old named Liverpool's Dutch international captain and the pair maintain a close relationship.

“It's not about who is the favorite.”

“We know that the end of the season will be emotional. But we can make it emotional in a good way by winning trophies,” van Dijk said. The chances of winning a second championship title under Klopp are good; In the Europa League the rival is Atalanta Bergamo in the quarterfinals.

“Winning the two remaining trophies is a success,” said van Dijk. In the FA Cup, Liverpool lost to Manchester United in the quarterfinals, and in the League Cup they triumphed in the final against Chelsea.

Klopp wants nothing to do with Liverpool being favorites in the English Premier League title race. “For us it's about Sheffield United and not about who is the favorite,” said the Reds' German coach before the home game this Thursday (8:30 p.m. on Sky) against the bottom team.

“I'm pretty sure we were underdogs after the defeat against Arsenal,” Klopp continued: “Maybe rightly so, but I don't know and I don't care.” Liverpool have nine games left in the championship. season In the table, one point behind the Gunners and tied on points with Manchester City in second place, but their rivals played one more game.

Pep Guardiola, among others, had given Klopp's team the role of favorite. “The first one is always the favorite,” said the Manchester City manager after the 0-0 draw in the main match against Arsenal on Sunday, after Liverpool had initially been first in the standings: “The second favorite is Arsenal , we are the third. – We don't have it in our hands.”

“One of the most important things,” said Klopp, who left in the summer, “is to ignore the chaos outside. “We have to be professional and play the best version of ourselves, the best football we can play, and then we will see what comes of it.”

Arsenal, led by German footballer Kai Havertz, easily won 2-0 (2-0) against relegation-threatened Luton Town on Wednesday night and initially knocked Liverpool out of first place. Without some big stars, Manchester City beat Aston Villa surprisingly clearly 4-1 (2-1) and tied on points with the “Reds”, coached by Klopp.

Arsenal dominated the game in front of their home crowd from the start, but at first barely threatened to score. Martin Odegaard (24th minute) finally put the Gunners ahead with a precise left-footed shot. Havertz provided the assist for his goal. Shortly before half-time, Luton's Daiki Hashioka (44th) scored an own goal as he tried to defend against a ball from Emile Smith Rowe, who had returned after a month out due to injury.

Havertz received a yellow card for a drink in the second half and was substituted after a good hour. After more changes, not much happened. Arsenal barely managed the result and gave Luton more possession. The eighteenth-placed team played happily, but barely had any real chances to score during the 90 minutes and is now three points clear of the non-relegation zone.

At Man City, coach Guardiola could even afford to leave top stars John Stones, Kevin De Bruyne and Erling Haaland on the bench. The defending champion won with confidence thanks to the goal of Rodri (11th) and the hat-trick of the strong English professional Phil Foden (45th + 1/60/69th). Jhon Durán scored the provisional tying goal for Villa, the surprise team of the season so far (20th).

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