Virgil van Dijk made his debut as a Liverpool player, fresh after being minted The World’s Most Expensive Defender™, and scored a winning goal in the Merseyside Derby. That happened. And yet, it nearly became a forgotten moment during an eventful second half of the season.
Although we certainly would have hoped for more goals from the aerial dominant Dutchman, it was an incredible way to announce yourself, in front of the Kop no less.
Now, in the end-of-season DVD, Reds boss Jürgen Klopp spoke about the decision to start him for that FA Cup tie.
“It was not a tough decision, it was only a spontaneous decision,” Kloppo said.
“In the morning, I actually thought he will not play. But we had one session in the morning and I came out on the pitch and [said], ‘Ah, come on, why not?’
“It’s not that I didn’t want him to play obviously, we bought him so we wanted him to play. But it was the first game, against Everton, if something goes the wrong direction it’s not a cool start and we want a good start for him.
“But then I thought he’s ready for it, so we did it and it was a genius decision!
“He scored the first goal, in front of the Kop, so that’s not too bad.”
Not too bad, indeed.
Van Dijk proved to be a vital cog in providing much-need defensive stability as Liverpool competed on two-fronts.
He was so good, that no one talks about how expensive he was. Moreover, the impressive Champions League run had everyone forgetting about that early FA Cup exit to West Brom after bouncing our local rivals in the previous round.
Hopefully he scores a few more in the season ahead, as Liverpool look to push up the league table and do one better in the Champions League.