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    Liverpool’s Virgil van Dijk ‘very excited’ about future

    Virgil van Dijk is “very excited” about the future for Liverpool despite the club looking like they will miss out on the Champions League next season.

    The Reds drew 1-1 with Aston Villa, leaving Manchester United and Newcastle United needing one point from two games to finish in the top four.

    But Van Dijk does not feel missing out on the top four will make it more difficult to reinvigorate the squad.

    At least four players will leave a team requiring a rebuild this summer.

    Roberto Firmino, James Milner, Naby Keita and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain will all depart the club and were given a guard of honour by their team-mates after Saturday’s game against Villa at Anfield.

    Liverpool were interested in signing Borussia Dortmund’s Jude Bellingham but ruled out making a move for the England midfielder because a deal in excess of £100m would be too expensive.

    Liverpool's Virgil van Dijk 'very excited' about future
    Liverpool have conceded 43 Premier League goals this season, the most in a full campaign under Jurgen Klopp
    They have been heavily linked with Brighton’s Argentina World Cup-winning midfielder Alexis Mac Allister for around £70m.

    Centre-back Van Dijk said: “Everyone knows we have been going through a bit of a transition and if I am a player on the rise and have options to go to the next step and Liverpool is knocking on my door, I would be very interested.

    “I don’t think it [finishing outside of top four] will change much, but if someone wants to play Champions League no matter what, that is their ambition.”

    Klopp said after the game: “We will make it [the Europa League] our competition. I am not that spoiled.”

    ‘Intense’ pre-season coming up
    Liverpool were on the cusp of immortality last season but agonisingly missed out on a Quadruple of trophies and they have failed to hit those heights this term.

    They will end the campaign without silverware and a run of seven straight victories in the league looks to have come too late.

    The side sit in fifth place, three points adrift of the two teams immediately above them, and face relegated Southampton on the final day.

    Liverpool have a training camp in Germany scheduled for pre-season, as well as a trip to Singapore, where they will face Leicester City and Bundesliga club Bayern Munich.

    “I am very excited [for the future], especially next season,” said Netherlands skipper Van Dijk. “That feeling came a couple of months ago when we turned the page.

    “There is still a lot to work on but now we have the full pre-season to work on it and that is the plan.

    “What I am hearing is that it is going to be a very intense pre-season with a lot of physical work, a lot of tactical work and trying to get ready for a tough season. That is very exciting.

    “Players are leaving, hopefully players can come in for the start of pre-season. Everyone who can come in and improve the football club will help all of us and push us all.

    “The focus for next season will be to make sure everyone is ready and can contribute. It doesn’t matter how old you are, you have to perform.”

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