No matter what happens in the future and regardless of how long he stays at Liverpool, Virgil van Dijk will always have this night. To score the winning goal on his debut in front of the Kop is huge but to have done it to win the 230th Merseyside derby and knock Everton out of the FA Cup made it even more remarkable.
The third-round tie looked to be heading into a replay after Gylfi Sigurdsson equalised James Milner’s 35th minute penalty at 67 minutes.
However, thanks to Van Dijk who met Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain’s in-swinging corner with a firm downwards header, our place in round four of the FA Cup has been secured.
The game began at a frenzied pace as Anfield was brought to life with the supporters all round showing their enthusiasm for the 24th meeting between Liverpool and Everton in the FA Cup. Emre Can and Sadio Mané both made attempts which were off target, before Milner volleyed Joe Gomez’s deep cross wide.
Mason Holgate hauled down Adam Lallana and we were given a penalty which in fairness was a rather soft touch. James Milner stepped up, as calm and cool as ever and sent his penalty straight down the middle of Jordan Pickford’s goal as the Liverpool supporters celebrated in the stands.
The second half started without a drop in the intensity from either side and Lallana had the first sight of goal 10 minutes after the restart. We went in search for a second goal with a shot from Robertson being palmed away by Pickford and Van Dijk nodding the ball straight at the Everton keeper.
However, it was Everton who struck with impressive Yannick Bolasie finding Lookman who sprinted into Liverpool’s half and played the ball infield to Phil Jagielka who turned it back to Gylfi Sigurddson, who the stroked a shot in the the bottom corner from 18 yards.
Both sides continued to go for it and I’m sure that neither side wanted a replay at Goodison Park. It appeared that both teams were struggling to carve out opportunities for a winner. But then, Virgil van Dijk came along to save the day.
He had a been an assured presence at the back throughout the game and wrote his name into the history books by planting Ox’s corner low into the Kop net at 84 minutes and our neighbours were unable to retaliate.