Virgil van Dijk: The comeback at Newcastle showed what is possible

Programme notesVirgil van Dijk: The comeback at Newcastle showed what is possible

By Chris Shaw


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Virgil van Dijk hailed the character displayed by his teammates as they overcame the odds at Newcastle United last weekend as a ‘great example’ to carry forward.

Liverpool fell a goal behind in the first half of the Premier League clash and then almost immediately lost Van Dijk to a straight red card for a challenge on Alexander Isak.

But the Reds dug in to deny the Magpies a second goal and then delivered a stunning finale as Darwin Nunez netted twice to snatch all three points.

Writing in his programme notes for Sunday’s home meeting with Aston Villa, Van Dijk reflects on the events at St. James’ Park and the importance of the togetherness the squad showed.

“[This] game will be the first that we have played since the end of the Premier League transfer window. So after all the changes that have been made, all of the speculation that has taken place, this is the moment when we look to draw a line under it all, focus on the football and trust the players who we have,” says the No.4.

“The squad is different. We have some new faces and we have seen some familiar faces depart. But the one thing that hasn’t changed is the quality. Whether it is established players, recent signings or youngsters making their way in the game, we have a lot of good footballers at this club so it is up to all of us to pull in the same direction.

“The Newcastle game last weekend is a great example of what is possible when everyone does pull in the same direction. Obviously we went a goal down and then I received a red card, so an already difficult game became even more difficult with a lot of time still to be played. The response speaks for itself, though.

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“We had players coming off the bench making a big impact, players who had started showing an incredible mentality when others might have accepted their fate, a youngster making his debut and playing his part. On top of that, the manager made some really big calls and all of them helped. And in the stands, the supporters pushed us all the way.

“This, for me, is the very best of Liverpool and it is only possible when the trust and belief that exists between everyone involved in the club is as good as it can be.

“I’m not saying it can or will be like this every game because even for someone as positive as me that would be a big ask, but the more we can at least look to make it like this, the better our chances of doing as well as we all hope.”

With Ibrahima Konate ruled out of the St. James’ Park encounter due to a muscle injury, Joel Matip came in to the starting XI at the back.

Joe Gomez was then introduced at centre-half in the aftermath of Van Dijk’s dismissal, while Jarell Quansah later made his Reds debut in the closing stages by replacing Matip.

Jarell Quansah defender
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“It goes without saying that I am disappointed not to be involved [against Villa], but the important thing for us as a group is always that if any of us is unavailable for whatever reason, someone else steps up and fills the void,” continues Van Dijk.

“This is something that definitely happened at Newcastle so hopefully it will happen again [on Sunday]. Whether it was Joel, Joey or Jarell at centre-back, they all gave everything for the team and played a major role in the result we achieved.

“Darwin got the headlines and rightly so because the goals he scored were not only brilliantly taken, they also decided the match, but it is also important to highlight that we kept a clean sheet with 10 men.

“This does not happen without the team defending as a team and without Ali being the world-class goalkeeper that we know he is, but as a centre-back my attention is naturally drawn to the performances of the players who play in the same position.

“The achievements and contribution of Joey and Joel over the years speak for themselves, so it did not surprise me in any way to see them performing in the way that they did. But Jarell was playing his first game at this level and he played with a maturity that made it look like he already had 50 appearances to his name.

“This is what I mean about trusting the players we have. If we do that – as the manager did with Jarell at such an important moment in an incredibly tough match – they will have the best possible chance of showing what they can do.”



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This article has been automatically translated and, while all reasonable efforts have been made to ensure accuracy, some errors in translation are possible. Please refer to the original English-language version of the article for the official version.