- Virgil van Dijk hails Merseyside derby winner as dream come true
- Dutchman’s late header leads Liverpool to 2-1 win over Everton
- Van Dijk was making debut after £75m arrival from Southampton
- SEE MORE: Liverpool speak out as Firmino faces FA investigation over Holgate clash
Virgil van Dijk admits he fulfilled a childhood dream by scoring the winner in a derby on his debut for Liverpool.
The Dutchman imprinted his name in Liverpool folklore on Friday as his towering header in the 84th minute handed the Reds a 2-1 win in their FA Cup clash with Everton.
It marked the perfect introduction for the club’s record signing, who was making his first appearance since arriving for £75million from Southampton.
“I don’t think it can get any better. It was a fantastic night,” the centre-back told Liverpoolfc.com.
“It was unlucky that we conceded but to score the winner in a derby on my debut is something every little boy dreams of. I just did it.”
“I’m very happy that we got through to the next round. We have a good chance to win this [cup]. I’m very happy to have my debut, to score and to win. It’s just fantastic.”
“From what I’ve seen over the last couple of days – I’ve only been with the group for four or five days – it’s a special group with a lot of quality, a lot of presence and a lot of personality.”
Besides leading Liverpool to another Merseyside derby win, Van Dijk’s goal served as an individual landmark for a man who has waited a long time to step out at Anfield as a Red.
The defender’s moment in the spotlight managed to take an already-fiery atmosphere up a notch or two as Jurgen Klopp’s men secured a deserved win.
Van Dijk proved to be the cool customer his hefty price-tag marketed him as, teasing early signs of injecting much-needed leadership and assertiveness into Liverpool’s back four.
Though the former Saints man is still striving to rediscover his top form, the composure and sheer physicality he offered made for an already-improved defence.
What better way to start life on Merseyside?