Liverpool supporters have been pretty buoyant in recent times after seeing their side come from behind to seal a 12th Premier League victory of the season on Wednesday night.
Jurgen Klopp’s men went into their encounter with lowly Burnley off the back of edging past Merseyside rivals Everton 1-0 at Anfield on Sunday, and were thus full of confidence ahead of their trip to Turf Moor. Yet things weren’t going so well for the Reds when Jack Cork gave the Clarets the lead, only for goals from James Milner, Roberto Firmino, and Xherdan Shaqiri to seal a 3-1 success for Klopp’s side, in turn keeping them two points behind leaders Manchester City.
Thus, there have been many thrilled Liverpudlians up and down the country in recent times, although there would have been plenty of concerned supporters when their side fell behind nine minutes into the second half against Sean Dyche’s side, who haven’t won in the league since September.
But when Klopp needed his players to stand up and be counted, centre back Virgil van Dijk did just that by producing yet another commanding display in the heart of the Liverpool backline.
The upturn in defensive fortunes at Anfield following the Dutchman’s arrival has been quite remarkable, what with Klopp’s side having gone from being very vulnerable at the back to now the lowest conceders in the top-flight, shipping only six times in their opening 15 games.
And ex-Southampton star van Dijk has played as big a part as anyone in that resurgence, with his performance on Wednesday night again underlining just why the Reds broke the bank to lure him to Merseyside.
The 27-year-old touched the ball more than any other player on the field (118) over the course of the 90 minutes, and finished the match with an impressive pass success rate of 88% – higher than any of his fellow Liverpool defenders (as per WhoScored).
Thus, the Netherlands international once again showcased his immense talent with the ball at his feet in seeking to keep possession and help launch attacks, but it was when asked questions defensively in which van Dijk once again stood up – he had an answer to pretty much everything.
The towering Dutchman won a remarkable 12 aerial duels during the match to help negate the very prominent aerial threat posed by Burnley, while he also showed excellent anticipation to make a team high ten clearances – he was in the right place to relieve the pressure on Klopp’s backline.
Ultimately, Wednesday night proved to be yet another big test of Liverpool’s resilience and overall title credentials, and at 1-0 down to the Clarets, things really didn’t look good for Klopp’s side.
Yet van Dijk stood up and was counted in producing a formidable display at the back to thus inspire the visitors to a vital three points.
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