'The noises I'm hearing': Virgil van Dijk 'excited' by Liverpool's summer plans

Virgil van Dijk gives a thumbs-up during the warm-up prior to the Premier League match between Leicester City and Liverpool at the King Power Stadium on May 15, 2023 in Leicester, England.
(Image credit: James Holyoak/MI News/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

Virgil van Dijk is looking forward to an "intense" pre-season with Liverpool and doesn't believe that the Reds' probable lack of Champions League football next term will hinder them in the transfer market.

Saturday's draw with Aston Villa all but ended the top-four hopes of Jurgen Klopp and co – who look set to have to make do with Europa League football for the first time since 2016/17.

From the sounds of it, though, Van Dijk isn't looking any less forward to the 2023/24 campaign.

Speaking after Saturday's game, the Dutch defender said: "The noises I'm hearing, it's going to be a very intense pre-season with a lot of physical work but also a lot of tactical work trying to get ready for a tough season. That's very exciting. Players are leaving; hopefully, players come in and will be ready for the start of pre-season."

Doubts have been raised over whether Liverpool will be able to attract the best talent this summer if they can't offer Champions League football – but Van Dijk has no such worries. He continued:

"Will no Champions League make it harder to recruit? No. Pre-season will be massive. Everybody knows we've been going through a little bit of a transition and, if I'm a player on the rise and I have options to go to the next step and Liverpool is knocking on my door, then I would be very, very interested. I don't think it's going to change much, but, if someone wants to play in the Champions League no matter what, then that's their ambition."

With one game to go – a final-day trip to Southampton – Liverpool trail fourth-placed Manchester United by three points.

As such, the Reds would need to beat Southampton and hope that Man United lose both of their remaining matches – at home to Chelsea and Fulham – in order to secure an unlikely Champions League spot at their fierce rivals' expense.

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Tom Hancock started freelancing for FourFourTwo in April 2019 and has also written for The Analyst and When Saturday Comes, among others. He supports Wycombe Wanderers and has a soft spot for Wealdstone. A self-confessed statto, he has been known to watch football with a spreadsheet (or several) open...