Virgil Van Dijk slapped back at critics after earning accolades for a stunning display against Erling Haaland as Liverpool show resilience in a win against Manchester City.
Only the Anfield faithful gave the Scousers a chance in the crunchy weekend game but an impeccable defensive display, coupled with Mohammed Salah’s late winner secured the victory.
Jurgen Klopp, who has been under fire this season, deployed an odd defense, with James Milner coming in for the injured Trent-Alexandre Arnold alongside Joe Gomez, Virgil Van Dijk, and Andy Robertson. And the system worked much to the surprise of the footballing world, keeping Haaland, Phil Foden, and Kevin De Bruyne at bay as Manchester City mustered only six shots on target.
Fans and pundits particularly enjoyed Klopp’s tactical masterclass which provided little space for City’s chief orchestrator Kevin De Bruyne as well as taking Haaland out of the game, reducing the striker’s impact. On multiple occasions, Robertson was seen following De Bruyne to the inside channel and Diogo Jota covering for the left back, tracking Joao Cancelo’s runs on the outside.
Virgil Van Dijk Spearheads Defensive Masterclass
Liverpool’s main man Virgil Van Dijk, who has been tagged one of the Premier League’s best in his position, was crucial in deciding the fate of the game including the last-ditch headed clearance to keep the scores in their favor. The Dutchman has been subject to criticism in recent weeks over his lackluster and uninterested way of defending.
Klopp’s men are not where they’re meant to be this season and their defensive collapse has been the highlight of their slump, but following their infamous win over Manchester City, Van Dijk took a swipe at his critics in his post-match interview.
“There is more tension to it and personally in my case everyone is talking about me against him and if I can still do it. All this nonsense,” he told Viaplay Football. “So for me it was just about focused on the game and keeping the focus on the game and trying to win the game and get a good performance as a team.
To organize everything around me and I think that happened today. I’m pleased and we are pleased and now we focus on West Ham.”
The Holland International Virgil Van Dijk, who joined the Reds in 2018, insisted his side was always big enough and strong enough to beat their arch-rivals while also showering respect on their inform man, Erling Haaland.
“I have respect for every player and every player who has achieved as much as they do. We play at the highest level. These guys who we face have been through a lot. I always have respect for each one of them.
Liverpool would not bask on their latest victory having lost to two other premier league heavyweights Arsenal and Manchester United, but the Merseyside outfit would be looking to build on their confidence in a bit to overturn their torrid start to the season.