VIRGIL VAN-BLOODY-DIJK, LADIES AND GENTLEMAN.
Scoring the winning goal in front of the Kop in a Merseyside derby is as good of a first installment in a £75m repayment plan as one could muster. Virgil Van Dijk, Liverpool’s world record signing, was clearly good for it, punching in an unstoppable header to send the Reds into the next round of the FA Cup at the expense of their eternal Everton rivals.
After several set piece attempts in which the Dutchman spurned two golden chances to put his side ahead, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain put the ball on Van Dijk’s head for a third time on a 84th minute corner, with the 6’4 defender rising above all else to power past a flailing Jordan Pickford and stamp his name in the annals of Liverpool debuts.
”What a night,” the new #4 told BBC Sport in the rapturous aftermath of the game. “[The win] was thoroughly deserved, it felt amazing to be out there. The goal is very special for me and my family.
”Playing at Anfield for Liverpool is a dream for every player. To score a goal is even more special.”
He's earned that Klopp cuddle!— Liverpool FC News (@LivEchoLFC) January 5, 2018
It was a fine finish to a game that was otherwise low on quality, as Liverpool, clearly fatigued from their Christmas travails, sank to the level of a dull Sam Allardyce Blues side, gifting a sloppy equalizer to Gylfi Sigurdsson after a first half penalty from James Milner had put Jurgen Klopp’s team ahead.
“[Sigurdsson’s] equalizer was the worst protection I ever saw in my life,” Klopp admitted after the game. “It made no sense at all.
“We were all in the wrong direction. But when you make mistakes in football you have to react and we did again. It was nice that Virgil van Dijk could score in his first game, a brilliant header. I am really happy.
”In front of the Kop, makes it even better. In Germany we say cup games have different laws and it was like that—there was an extra push form both sides.”