Virgil van Dijk provided an enthralling preview of Liverpool’s meeting with Paris Saint-Germain as he came up against France’s Kylian Mbappe on Sunday evening.
The Reds centre-back engaged in a fascinating battle with the teenage forward as the Netherlands slipped to a 2-1 defeat in their UEFA Nations League clash.
One moment saw the world’s most expensive defender facing a usually frightening scenario of being the sole obstacle in the path of a bursting Mbappe run.
In the kind of situation that gave defenders nightmares at the World Cup, Van Dijk exercised his poise to resist jumping in and instead time his eventual challenge to perfection.
Virgil van Dijk there, providing an updated definition of "textbook defending" pic.twitter.com/bXlB10uS3u
— Sam Dean (@SamJDean) September 9, 2018
Liverpool host PSG in their opening Champions League Group C match on September 18, before travelling to the Parc des Princes on November 28.
Van Dijk’s tussle with Mbappe served as further recognition of his elevation as one of the world’s most accomplished defenders, as well as continuing his superb start to the season.
The 27-year-old impressed throughout on the night, and was unlucky to be beaten to the ball by Olivier Giroud for the Chelsea man’s stunning volleyed winner.
Club teammate Georginio Wijnaldum also played the full 90 minutes, with both men emerging unscathed.