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Liverpool news: Why Virgil van Dijk was so crucial to lucky win vs Tottenham




The Reds had over-committed as they chased a winner against Tottenham to move back to the top of the Premier League table.

They would later get fortunate to grab that important goal, but here was a true test of the best defender on the planet with five minutes to go.

With only keeper Alisson behind him as protection, Virgil van Dijk was left to deal with a Spurs counter-attack.

There were two options for the Dutchman.

The first was to commit to challenging the man in possession, the second was to hold his position and block the other player.

Many would have chosen the first option.

It seemed the most sensible – stop the ball. That way if you get beaten, you don’t look foolish.

But when the man in possession is a deep-lying midfielder in Sissoko and the other player free is a more-than-capable forward in Son, Van Dijk showed why he IS the best on the planet.

Virgil van Dijk Liverpool Tottenham Premier League

Liverpool star Virgil van Dijk was superb against Tottenham (Pic: GETTY)

The crafty Dutch international didn’t rush towards the ball and Sissoko.

Instead, he thought to himself that it would be better to gamble on the midfielder not having the prowess in front of goal to finish Liverpool off than giving him an easy pass to Son, who clearly had the quality to kill the game.

It was defending of the highest quality as Sissoko panicked and lashed over the bar.

There was a feeling inside Anfield then it was a huge moment. It felt like it had at least rescued a point for the Reds.

By full-time it was an even bigger bit of defending as Jurgen Klopp’s men claimed three points thanks to Toby Alderweireld’s own goal.

Virgil van Dijk Liverpool Tottenham Premier League

Virgil van Dijk is enjoying a terrific campaign for Liverpool (Pic: GETTY)

Yes, Liverpool got lucky in the end. Yes, they have had their fair share of fortune this season.

They can also count on their three-pronged attack of Sadio Mane, Mo Salah and Roberto Firmino as one of the reasons they lead Manchester City by two points at the top of the table.

While Klopp’s £65m acquisition of Alisson has also boosted their title credentials.

But if they do win their next six games and pip City to the title then their player of the season will be Van Dijk.

When Liverpool spent £75m on him just over 12 months ago, some people scoffed.

Even Klopp said in the past he wouldn’t spend such a huge figure on one single player.

But he will go down as the most expensive bargain buy ever as well as the most expensive defender in history.

Van Dijk is in the running for all the individual awards this season.

That piece of defending in the 85th minute at Anfield shows why.

But it could also be a crucial moment in the Merseysider’s attempts to end 29 years without a league title.

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