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Liverpool ready to “dig in” as AFCON trio depart with wishes to “make us proud!”

With the gap to Man City not taking the desired hit on Sunday, Liverpool know they have to continue to “dig in” to get the required results in the face of adversity.

The Reds raced to a two-goal advantage at Stamford Bridge thanks to Sadio Mane and Mohamed Salah, only for their soft underbelly and lack of control to come back to bite them.

It’s been a theme for Jurgen Klopp‘s side so far this season, with the draw at Chelsea the fifth time that Liverpool have led in a match only to walk away with a solitary point this season.

In a title race that demands perfection, the lack of ruthlessness leaves plenty of ground to make up.

Virgil van Dijk knows “anything can happen still” in the race for the league despite the Reds – who have a game in hand – sitting 11 points behind Man City, and for Jordan Henderson, the focus is only on what Liverpool can control.

“We know how strong City are, Chelsea are, the whole of the Premier League – it’s a tough league, some very good teams, so you can’t get focused on anything else but yourself,” Henderson told LFCTV.

LONDON, ENGLAND - Sunday, January 2, 2022: Liverpool's Fabio Henrique Tavares 'Fabinho' reacts during the FA Premier League match between Chelsea FC and Liverpool FC at Stamford Bridge. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

“We just need to focus on what we need to do in every game that we play and everybody in the squad needs to be ready to play over this next period over the next few weeks, especially without [Naby Keita, Mane and Salah, who now head to the Africa Cup of Nations].

“That’s football, you dig in, you keep going as a squad and hopefully we get our rewards come the end of the season.”

Covid cases and injuries have hit the squad and Liverpool will know it will need to be a team effort in the coming days and weeks in both the league and domestic cup competitions.

And while the Reds will be without Naby Keita, Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mane for the foreseeable, they were bid farewell to AFCON with nothing but the club’s best wishes.

From Pep Lijnders instructing them to “try with everything you have and try and win it” to Van Dijk calling on the trio to “make us proud!”:

Liverpool will now be handed a break from the intensity of the Premier League with the next week-and-a-half providing fresh scenery and a new challenge in both the League Cup and FA Cup.

Changes will be made to the lineups and youth will get their opportunity against Shrewsbury, one would expect, to make for an exciting few games ahead after no wins in the last three league games.

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