When we first saw Virgil van Dijk’s challenge on Dries Mertens, we were outraged by the fact it was given as a foul, let alone a yellow card.
The Dutchman clearly won the ball, but after seeing replays, there was an element of danger about the way our no.4 slid in – as his studs were not on the floor.
Still images made it look much worse than it was, so we’ve included the full video in this post.
As it happens, van Dijk was fairly unapologetic.
“I don’t think it was a bad challenge at all,” Van Dijk told ESPN. “Unfortunately I touched him, but I would never go in to hurt him or anything like that.
“I had the ball and obviously [with] the wet pitch you slide through and I touched him, but that’s football.”
van dijk breaks the laws of physics, how could he just stand up after a slide tackle like this?? im just in love.
— Stiles Yorke (@StilesYorke) December 11, 2018
Yet again, van Dijk put in a world-class performance last night. The number of times he cleared our lines and blocked crosses was especially impressive – and he did this while maintaining his usually exceptional composure on the ball.
He’s the best defender on the planet right now, and with Alisson behind him, it’s no surprise that Liverpool have already racked up 12 clean sheets in all competitions this season.