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Virgil van Dijk..

The change Virgil van Dijk made after 30 minutes v Palace that worked a treat

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After two weeks away, the Premier League is back and Liverpool got proceedings underway with their trip to Crystal Palace on Saturday afternoon.

Jurgen Klopp's men are just days away from a blockbuster Champions League clash with Manchester City, so their visit to Selhurst Park seemed only to matter in their dog fight for second place.

You'd be mistaken for thinking the Reds were looking past their league opponents, too, with how they started the game.

Loris Karius was forced into an impressive early save when Wilfried Zaha broke through the Liverpool defence, before Virgil van Dijk headed wide in response.

Palace then took the lead in the 13th minute when a moment to forget for both Trent Alexander-Arnold and Karius saw the home side awarded a penalty.

Benteke performed well up against Matip

Luka Milivojevic made no mistake from 12 yards - selling the Liverpool 'keeper the wrong way and finding the bottom corner. 

Furthermore, one of the finest performers in the first-half for Palace was a certain Christian Benteke who has waded through terrible form this season but held the ball up brilliantly for the Eagles.

Van Dijk switched to marking Benteke and bossed him

Well, for the first 30 minutes anyway. 

Liverpool fans noticed that Joel Matip had seriously struggled against the ex-Liverpool man and after approximately half-an-hour, Van Dijk started to mark the forward.

Benteke resorted to fouls - two in five minutes

Within minutes of the switch, Benteke went from having his way to becoming embroiled in a constant physical battle with the Dutchman with the Palace man wracking up two fouls in five minutes during the battle.

Check out the fouls in question:

That just goes to show the level of intelligence in Van Dijk's defending and his footballing brain as the game around him unfolds.

There's every reason to suggest Benteke would have continued to have his way against Matip and cause problems holding up the ball for the away side.

When a more fitting physical presence stood up to him, though, he was suddenly put under pressure and the mistimed tackles started to creep in.

Simple but effective, Virgil.

Do you think Virgil van Dijk is the best defender in the Premier League? Have your say in the comments section below.

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Topics:
Christian Benteke
Wilfried Zaha
Crystal Palace
Football

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