Virgil van Dijk: I wish I had Joel's quality!

ReactionVirgil van Dijk: I wish I had Joel's quality!

Published 24th February 2022
By Sam Williams

Virgil van Dijk saw it coming.

Liverpool’s No.4 was delighted to see Joel Matip finally be rewarded for his enterprising runs forward with a goal during the Reds’ comprehensive 6-0 victory over Leeds United at Anfield.

And he revealed that he told his centre-back partner the moment was imminent in the build-up to Wednesday’s game.

Extended highlights: Liverpool 6-0 Leeds

“It’s a big quality of him – I wish I had that quality at times!” Van Dijk told Liverpoolfc.com of Matip’s surging dribbles.

“He just can go without any fear at all and hope for the best a little bit! But he has that quality. It’s a big strength of him and obviously it’s useful because it drags other players from their position and today obviously the space was there to make that run and finish it off. 

“I said to him already before the game I felt it coming because he had an assist for Diogo and I said, ‘A goal is next!’ so I’m obviously very happy for him.”

For the rest of our post-match interview with Van Dijk, who also scored against Leeds, read on…

'After a few tries, I finally scored!' - Joel Matip on Anfield goal
23rd February 2022

Reaction'After a few tries, I finally scored!' - Joel Matip on Anfield goalIt was worth the wait for Joel Matip.

Virgil, it was a wonderful win against a tricky opponent… 

Very important. A very good win against a difficult opponent; difficult in the way that they play a certain way that is intense, intense with running. They never give up so we had to be ready to fight, to do the hard work and make the extra metres and I think we did that very well. We scored obviously with the penalty, that helps a little bit, but overall I think [it was] a very good performance. 

It’s fantastic to see Joel stay injury-free and be playing so well…

I think also himself, mentally he is at a good place. I think the four of us, because we cannot forget Joe, who is obviously not even in the squad at the moment, but four of us are keeping each other as sharp as we can. We need everyone and obviously it’s very good to see that he is fit, he is playing on a high level and whether I play with him, Ibou or Joe, it’s always good to be out there together and work hard.

Salah has 27 goals this season now and the best goals-to-game ratio in the club’s history – do you sense he is even hungrier for success than ever?

Yeah, of course. He is chasing records but he knows that first and foremost we want to achieve good things during this season. He has a big part to play in that with his goals, but also with his defending, with his work-rate and stuff. Obviously two goals again, Sadio two goals again, so an incredible game for them. Something to build on and to hopefully take with us to the cup final.

The Carabao Cup final is next – how much are you looking forward to Wembley on Sunday?

Yeah, I am looking forward to it. I am looking forward to it a lot. It’s going to be tough; Chelsea is a very, very good team, tactical-wise they have a clear plan and it’s going to be interesting [to see] how they will try to beat us. But we will prepare well, we will recover from tonight and give everything that we’ve got on the weekend and with our fans and stuff, it’s going to be hopefully a good day. But no doubt, it’s going to be very hard. 

Published 24th February 2022