ReactionVirgil van Dijk assesses Reds' defeat by West Ham
Virgil van Dijk acknowledged Sunday’s 3-2 defeat by West Ham United represents a ‘proper knock’ for Liverpool.
A stunning free-kick by Trent Alexander-Arnold equalised Alisson Becker’s early own goal shortly before half-time at London Stadium.
Quickfire strikes by Pablo Fornals and Kurt Zouma then put the hosts 3-1 up by the 74th minute and although Divock Origi pulled one back with a fine finish, the Reds’ 25-match unbeaten run was brought to an end.
Post-match, Van Dijk spoke to Sky Sports. Read on for a full transcript…
What are your reflections on the game?
It’s a proper knock. We have to pick ourselves up and make sure we are ready after the international break. It was an intense game, I think first half there was nothing really wrong. We played OK, I think in moments played well. We tried to find the spaces in between their lines and obviously they defend well. We had to be patient and scored the deserved equaliser, in my opinion, then second half we were a bit too rash maybe. We wanted maybe to score the 2-1 a bit too much. Obviously they gambled on the counter-attacks with leaving players up, that’s obviously a strength of them and then it was quite an open game.
Did being ‘too rash’ in the second half make you more vulnerable?
No. Obviously it’s a good thing that we want to score the 2-1 but sometimes you just have to be more composed, more patient and keep the ball a little bit longer, let them run a little bit more. I think that was maybe the case just after half-time. That’s my reflection now. It’s difficult to say but overall we are very disappointed to lose it, of course. But it is what it is.
Were you hoping for help from the officials around West Ham’s first goal?
Listen, the goal counts, it stands. I don’t know exactly what happens but I saw the whole time that Ali was being man-marked and stuff, so with the rules nowadays no-one knows exactly what is allowed, yes or no, sometimes they give it and sometimes they don’t and today counts. But what I said, there was nothing wrong. Even after that we still had almost the whole game to come back from it, but obviously we were disappointed to come 1-0 down.
Was there anything you can do defensively to help the goalkeeper in those situations, such as clearing the area around him?
Obviously you can’t because the striker in this case was standing next to him, so you can’t obviously push him away because they might give a penalty so it’s just on the officials to see if it’s a foul, yes or no. It could have been a foul but what can you do now after the game? You can’t change it and what I said, we still had the whole game to come back.
How important is the response now? It had been a long time since you had lost, so I suppose you’ll want to start another unbeaten run straight away?
Obviously we just focus on the next game but now it’s the international break. Everyone is going away so it’s just make sure that you recover well, play well, play for your country and come back fresh and healthy and clear-minded for a very tough game against Arsenal. That’s the only thing we can do.