Liverpool defender Virgil van Dijk believes Manchester City's approach in Sunday's goalless draw demonstrates the respect they have for their Premier League rivals.
Pep Guardiola's side suffered three defeats to the Reds last season in the league and Champions League and, as a result, took a more cautious approach than normal at Anfield.
Van Dijk – who conceded an 86th-minute penalty that was missed by Riyad Mahrez – believes City's more conservative approach was testament to the potency of Liverpool's attack and the damage it could do to them.
"Obviously they were a bit cautious of the way we played and I think we have earned that respect," he told reporters.
"We made it difficult for them and they made it difficult for us at times but that's how it is."
While a point against City could yet prove crucial at the end of the season, Van Dijk believes the key to a successful title challenge is dispatching the league's less illustrious sides.
"But 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," he added.
"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."
Van Dijk has joined up with the Netherlands squad ahead of their Nations League clash with Germany on Saturday and friendly with Belgium three days later.
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