Virgil van Dijk has joked that he deliberately let Ryan Babel score against Liverpool on Sunday afternoon – so that his confidence would be boosted ahead of the international break.
The pair are both in the Netherland’s squad for their matches against Belarus and Germany as the Dutch aim to qualify for Euro 2020.
According to Voetbal International, when asked if he made the error deliberately in order to boost Babel’s confidence ahead of the international break, Van Dijk said: “I tried!”
Errors from the Dutch defender are incredibly rare, and thankfully, Sadio Mane won the penalty which James Milner converted, and he was let off.
Van Dijk added: “Mistakes happen in football. [To] me too, but hopefully not too often anymore. If defenders or keepers make a mistake, it is immediately punished. That is the risk of the profession.”
In fairness to Van Dijk, Milner didn’t cover himself in glory with the sliced clearance that put him in trouble, and Alisson could have done a little better, so he wasn’t the only one to blame.
Hopefully, the trio have learned from that and won’t make similar mistakes in the run-in, where all three will be important for different reasons.