Football

Van Dijk was booked for his tackle on Mertens.

Virgil van Dijk's reply when asked about his argument with Jordan Henderson vs Napoli

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It was always going to be a tense night at Anfield on Tuesday night.

Liverpool went into their clash against Napoli knowing that they either needed to win 1-0 or by two clear goals in order to guarantee safe passage into the last-16.

Therefore, unless Jurgen Klopp side blew Napoli away and took an early 3-0 lead, the entire 90 minutes was set to be nervy.

And nervy it was.

But Mohamed Salah’s moment of magic in the 34th-minute was enough to send Liverpool through as runners-up of Group C.

From that moment on, Liverpool were always on course to progress.

Before that, though, it was a cagey affair with the Italians looking dangerous on the break.

In fact, it could have been a disastrous start for the home side if Virgil van Dijk had been given a red card for his dangerous tackle on Dries Mertens.

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It was a challenge that has split opinion with some believing it was fair and shouldn’t have even been a free-kick, some agreeing with the yellow card Van Dijk was shown, while others insisted he should have been sent off.

While Mertens was down getting treatment, Van Dijk and club captain Jordan Henderson were seen having a heated argument.

It was believed they were arguing about Van Dijk’s tackle but, when asked about it, the Dutchman didn’t reveal the details.

Instead, he played down the argument and insisted it was for the good of the team.

"You have to,” he said, per the Liverpool Echo. “You need to be hard with each other. When things aren’t going right you need to tell each other, otherwise it’s going to be too easy.

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“I think that’s a sign of a good team. When people are shouting at me I take it because they want to make me better and their mistake they take it as well if I shout to them. That’s how it is, we’re all grown-ups, we take it and after the game if you’re not happy with it then you discuss it.

“It is what it is.”

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Of course, Van Dijk has often inherited the captain’s armband this season in Henderson’s absence with both players having a fantastic leadership quality.

And with Scotland captain Andy Robertson and the experienced James Milner also in Liverpool’s starting XI on Tuesday, it’s fair to say Klopp’s side have plenty of leaders on the pitch.

With leaders everywhere you look, you're always going to get these sort of disagreements but it's only going to help the side sort out their problems.

Topics:
UEFA Champions League
Football
Dries Mertens
Virgil van Dijk
Mohamed Salah
Jurgen Klopp
Premier League
Jordan Henderson
James Milner
Liverpool

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