Virgil van Dijk has urged supporters to keep their nerve as Liverpool challenge for the Premier League title.
The Dutch defender picked up on the anxiety levels inside Anfield during Wednesday’s 1-1 draw with Leicester City as the Reds moved five points clear of Manchester City.
Van Dijk dismissed suggestions that the edgy atmosphere contributed to the outcome but he says both players and fans alike need to stay cool in their mission to secure the club’s first top-flight crown since 1990.
Asked if he felt that there was an element of nervousness in the crowd, Van Dijk said: “It sounded like it.
“It didn’t transmit to me and I don’t think it did to my team-mates, but obviously you get that feeling as well from the crowd and I think it’s not really necessary at the moment.
“But obviously everyone wants to win so bad and that’s what we want as well but sometimes you need to be very patient.
“In the end it’s all about showing on the pitch and we’re not going to be affected by that.
“We want everyone to cheer us on and keep pushing even if we have tough moments, even if we’re 1-0 down or maybe more. We just need everyone to pull in the same direction and keep going, that’s the only way forward.”
It was the first time the Reds have dropped points on home turf since October.
They failed to build on Sadio Mane’s early goal with Harry Maguire equalising just before the break.
Liverpool dominated possession but Van Dijk insists it was tricky for the Reds to make it count on such an icy surface.
“Disappointment is not the right word,” he said. “We started amazingly with the goal from Sadio and then it was a tough game against a good opponent.
“We don’t need to forget that as well, they are just a good team and we were unlucky that we didn’t win.
“We just kept pushing, we were on the front foot, we had our dangerous moments, and obviously we were looking for the second one, but they scored in the last couple of seconds of the first half which was a bit frustrating, especially how we conceded.
“We gave the free-kick away unnecessarily and then obviously stepping forward and it was not offside. It was a bit all over the place and something we have to look at.
“The pitch was horrendous. It was full of ice but they need to deal with that as well. We had most of the ball and it was difficult to break them down. At times we were dangerous but in the end it wasn’t enough to score a goal.
“What was missing? A bit of luck I think, a bit of extra edge maybe that we sometimes have a little bit more of. There are a lot of circumstances that played a part.”
Liverpool were on the wrong end of some controversial decisions by referee Martin Atkinson.
Maguire was fortunate to avoid a red card in the first half after cynically tripping Mane, while penalty appeals were waved away in the second half when Naby Keita was brought down by Ricardo Pereira.
“That’s something I’m not going to comment on,” Van Dijk said.
“It could have ended differently but I think they had a situation in the first half where they could have had a penalty, that’s what their players said but I’m not sure.”
Pressed on the fact that replays showed Keita had clearly been taken out by Pereira, Van Dijk added: “Yeah that’s what I saw as well but obviously the ref didn’t give it and we can’t change it any more. Sometimes you have to accept these decisions.”
It was a missed opportunity for the Reds following Manchester City’s shock defeat to Newcastle United 24 hours earlier.
But Van Dijk says City’s situation had no impact on Liverpool’s performance against Leicester.
“That’s not something that we focus on,” he said.
“We were just preparing for the game and nobody talked about the City result.
“That they lose is obviously not good for them and obviously good for us for the title race. But there are so many games left, anything can happen and you saw that here against a good side. We tried to break them down, especially the last 20 minutes, but it didn’t work out.”