Unsung Hero: Liverpool’s Virgil van Dijk caps excellent week with towering performance at Burnley

Unsung Hero: Liverpool’s Virgil van Dijk caps excellent week with towering performance at Burnley

Liverpool maintained their 100% start to the Premier League season going into the September international break with a 3-0 victory away to Burnley on Saturday evening.

Two goals in the space of four minutes late in the first half put the Reds in a commanding position, with Chris Wood inadvertently deflecting a Trent Alexander-Arnold cross into the Burnley net shortly before Sadio Mane slotted past Nick Pope to double the visitors’ lead. [via Sky Sports]

The victory was sealed with 10 minutes to go when Roberto Firmino finished to the net to become the first Brazilian to reach 50 goals in the Premier League. [via Sky Sports]

The win maintains Liverpool’s two-point lead at the summit over Manchester City going into the first international break of the season, with the champions having temporarily taken top spot with their victory against Brighton earlier on Saturday. [via Sky Sports]

In addition to preserving top spot in the Premier League, Liverpool also registered a first clean sheet of the season in their fourth league game of the season and their sixth in all competitions so far in 2019/20. [via]

That was in no small part thanks to Virgil van Dijk, who followed up being named UEFA Men’s Player of the Year last week with a superb defensive display at Turf Moor.

The Liverpool defender ended the game with no fewer than 12 aerial duels won out of the 14 he contested, at least three times more than any other player for Jurgen Klopp’s side. [via]

He touched the ball 101 times in the game and completed 73 passes, with both of those the highest figures of anyone on the pitch. He ended the match with a passing success rate of 83%. [via]

Liverpool Echo writer Ian Doyle noted van Dijk’s aerial excellence on Saturday, saying that he “dominated Wood in the air, constantly beating the striker to possession” and adding that “so many Burnley balls into the box were nodded away by the Dutchman”.

Henry Jackson of This Is Anfield described the defender’s performance as “largely imperious”, while The Mirror‘s David Anderson said: “Nothing got past UEFA’s imperious newly-crowned Player of the Year”.

Jackson feels that van Dijk is “Liverpool’s most important player in this title race” and his dominant performance against Burnley was befitting of a player deemed by UEFA as the best in Europe over the past few months.

Liverpool fans, just how good did you think van Dijk played against Burnley on Saturday? Give us your views by commenting below!

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