Virgil van Dijk put his body on the line for Liverpool with a brilliant last-ditch tackle to deny Ivan Toney during their 3-3 draw with Brentford.
The Flying Dutchman made an incredible recovery to thwart a Bees counter-attack during the 3-3 draw on Saturday.
Liverpool remain unbeaten in the Premier League this season and nearly opened up an early three-point lead over Manchester City at the top of the table with a memorable win over the newly-promoted side.
With just over three minutes remaining in the nail-biting encounter, Brentford broke quickly after Liverpool lost the ball and Toney was somehow left with acres of space to chase a sublime pass over the top.
It appeared inevitable the Brentford striker would put the ball into the back of the net but the 30-year-old defender had other ideas.
The centre-back somehow even managed to pass the ball back to goalkeeper Alisson Becker, although admittedly that was more by luck than judgement, before gesticulating angrily at the rest of his teammates for leaving wide gaps in their defence.
Van Dijk may not have been at his best but head coach Jurgen Klopp will be grateful for his game-changing contribution against Brentford.
The Dutchman was forced off just 11 minutes into the Reds’ 2-2 draw at Everton in October of last year after a dangerous tackle from Jordan Pickford resulted in him missing over eight months of competitive action.
Klopp’s side are currently top of the table with City and Chelsea a point behind them and they look much better at the back with Van Dijk in the team than without him in it.
On Saturday night, Van Dijk took to Instagram to share his thoughts on the game.
He wrote: “Wild game and not the result we came for. Keeping perspective is important though. A point earned and still unbeaten. Respect to Brentford. Now focus on the Champions League.”
Klopp also admitted his Liverpool team ‘struggled’ to cope Brentford’s long balls over the top.
Speaking after the game, he said: “Offensively, I am really happy. I think in moments we played some of the best football we’ve played so far this season; we created top chances against a really well organised side.
“They were very good, but obviously we struggled tonight with their long balls.
“I was not too happy with how we started the game and that’s how we conceded the goal, a little bit.
“It was a situation where we could have been more organised.”
“It’s not so easy, but [we needed] to be much more composed in this situation to win these little challenges,” he explained.
“They scored at the second post; there was no space to score, but they did.
“We reacted well, scored really nice goals.
“The second half, we controlled the game better, but in the phase where we maybe played the best football, they scored the equaliser.”
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