Virgil van Dijk has vowed to ‘work hard’ and eliminate mistakes from his game after Liverpool’s 3-1 Premier League loss against Arsenal on Sunday (February 4).
After a mistake-laden 2022-23 season, Van Dijk has evidently returned to playing some of his best football this term. He was made Liverpool’s captain this summer and has continued to be one of the first names on Jurgen Klopp’s team sheet every week.
Van Dijk, who made his 26th appearance across competitions this season in the game against Arsenal, was involved in a mix-up with Alisson Becker in the second half. Van Dijk was chasing a long pass over the top and tried to shield the ball from Gabriel Martinelli at the edge of the box.
The Dutchman perhaps counted on Alisson to come out and clear it. The Brazilian goalkeeper, to his credit, rushed out in time and seemed destined to boot the ball away from danger.
However, Alisson’s right boot connected with Van Dijk’s thigh, who got in the way, and the ball fell to Martinelli with a gaping goal in front of him. The Arsenal winger made no mistake and put his team 2-1 in front with 67 minutes on the clock.
Ibrahima Konate was later sent-off in the 88th minute and Leandro Trossard added a third in stoppage time. After the full-time whistle at the Emirates, Van Dijk said (h/t Fabrizio Romano on X):
“I will work hard. I will be back. There is no doubt about that. I will make sure these things don’t happen anymore”.
The harshest critics would also point fingers at Van Dijk for the first goal Arsenal scored in the 14th minute. He charged up the pitch to win the ball in midfield, which left a lot of space for Kai Havertz to run into. His shot was saved by Alisson but Bukayo Saka made no mistake on the follow-up.
Jurgen Klopp admits Arsenal deserved the win against Liverpool
Jurgen Klopp said he wasn’t sure if Ibrahima Konate deserved to be sent off but admitted that Arsenal were regardless the better side on the day.
The Frenchman was sent off for two fouls on Kai Havertz within the space of 33 minutes. On both occasions, the centre-back was arguably guilty of getting too handsy, which didn’t leave Anthony Taylor with much choice.
Speaking on the game afterwards, the Liverpool manager told BBC:
“They scored goals and were many parts better than us. We have to play better football, that’s clear. Was it a red card? Not sure. But even without that we lose 2-1 and only have one shot on goal.”
Liverpool kept 57% of the ball on enemy territory but had just one shot on target to Arsenal’s seven. The Gunners also had a remarkable xG of 3.52 as compared to the visitors’ 0.41.
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