Manchester City's tactics showed Pep Guardiola's respect for Liverpool - Virgil van Dijk
LIVERPOOL -- Virgil van Dijk believes the fact Manchester City adopted a slightly cautious approach at Anfield is a sign that Liverpool have earned Pep Guardiola's "respect."
Liverpool had won their last three meetings with City prior to Sunday and it took until the 62nd minute for either team to register a single shot on target at Anfield as both teams cancelled each other out.
City's best chance arrived when they were awarded a penalty kick, which was blazed over by Riyad Mahrez, five minutes from time after Van Dijk had upended Leroy Sane.
"Obviously they were a bit cautious of the way we played and I think we have earned that respect," Van Dijk told reporters. "But they still pressed and still tried to play their game. We made it difficult for them and they made it difficult for us at times, but that's how it is.
"At the end we need to be happy -- I need to be happy -- that we didn't lose it because of the penalty. They came as they champions and it was lucky they didn't score, but also unlucky we didn't score either.
"I think to keep a clean sheet after a penalty in the last five minutes makes me a very happy man. It was not smart from me personally and hopefully it will never happen again.
"[After] 85 minutes, you obviously get a bit fatigued, and that moment goes by in a split second and I decided to dive in, which is not what I would normally do. It was a decision I made and hopefully it will be the last time I make that decision at that time."
The draw maintains Liverpool's unbeaten start to the season and sees them remain level on points with City and Chelsea at the top of the Premier League.
Van Dijk feels the title will not be decided by high-profile encounters like Sunday's -- more so Liverpool's match with Huddersfield Town after the international break.
"I think it is not about these games, it is all about the other games, the difficult games which we have against mid-table and lower teams," the centre-half said.
"We want to get as close as possible and do as well as we can but we know it is going to be hard. We've had a great start to the season and we want to keep it going.
"We aim to improve every game, even if it is against Chelsea, for example, and we want to win every game.
"After the international break there are three important games against Huddersfield, Red Star [Belgrade] and Cardiff so we want to be ready for that.
"It was not an easy month playing against Champions League teams -- it is tough week in, week out, and playing with a little injury is not easy. But we all keep going and now it is internationals.
"I'm the captain [of Netherlands] and we have a very important game against Germany, so we have to try to be ready for that one and then try to get a bit of rest after that one."