When the story of Virgil van Dijk’s life is written, three points away at Burnley will probably be fairly insignificant compared to winning the UEFA Men’s Player of the Year award earlier in the week.
But nonetheless, it felt very significant in the moment. Turf Moor is no one’s favourite ground to go to. Burnley set up to tactically and physically challenge teams in ways they are not normally tested in the Premier League. They know what they do and everyone hates it. But Liverpool were simply the better football side yesterday, and Van Dijk was delighted to get the win.
“Beforehand this was a tough fixture and I think everyone who comes here knows that,” Van Dijk told the official Liverpool site yesterday.
“They have a clear plan, very direct, second balls, a hard fight, and I think we dealt with it pretty well. I’m very delighted to take the three points with us and keep the clean sheet.
“They kept doing what they always do, 2-0 is a little bit dangerous because if they score one they are going to go for it and believe it, so I think they held on to that [belief] in the second half and obviously after we scored to make it 3-0 it was game over.”
Of course, everyone knows the real celebration is over his personal achievement earlier in the week. “It was a special night,” the Dutchman added. “It went pretty quick, I had to focus straight away on [the game against Burnley] and I’m glad that we took the three points.”
That he was straight onto thinking about Burnley shows his kind of application. It’s total focus on the task in hand. He’s probably put this win behind him already to concentrate on the international fixtures for the Netherlands. Keep it going, Virgil.