Liverpool's Virgil van Dijk reacted like a proper captain after Mo Salah was confronted in 2018


Virgil van Dijk has already stamped his place in Liverpool’s book of club legends.

Since his arrival on January 1, 2018, the Netherlands international has been the rock that Jurgen Klopp’s side desperately needed.

Indeed, his £75 million fee looks like a bargain today. He’s been that good.

Winner of the UEFA Men’s Player of the Year Award in 2018/19, Van Dijk still belongs in the conversation for greatest centre-backs in the world.

He’s perhaps the best in Premier League history too, but we’ll save that debate for another day.


A proper leader

Jordan Henderson is Liverpool‘s first-choice captain but Klopp can always feel confident when Van Dijk is handed the armband.

A fierce competitor, the 30-year-old is vocal and leads by example.

And more importantly, he always sticks up for his teammates.

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Van Dijk vs Sokratis in 2018

That was evident in December 2018 when Arsenal came to Anfield to take on the Reds.

Liverpool produced a scintillating performance in the first 45 minutes, leading 4-1 at the break, and Arsenal’s Sokratis Papastathopoulos wasn’t happy.

Sokratis had conceded a penalty late on in the half for a foul on Mohamed Salah and he was keen to let the Egyptian know what he thought about his fall when the whistle blew.


Van Dijk’s reaction was superb

As the players made their way to the tunnel, Van Dijk stepped in and gave Sokratis an earful.


It was the perfect reaction from the Liverpool captain and fans leapt to Twitter to praise the centre-back.


What did Van Dijk say afterwards?

“I saw that he went to Mo (Salah) and was saying that he dived. He was attacking him a bit, but I wanted to say he didn’t dive,” Van Dijk said about the incident, per the Liverpool Echo.

“Obviously everyone came around us and it looked like we were fighting or something but we weren’t. I just wanted to talk to him. But that happens in football and we move on.

“I’m protecting my teammates and that’s normal, that’s how everyone should react and that’s what we all need to do, to back each other. That’s what I definitely do.”

It’s that togetherness in the squad that propelled Liverpool to Champions League glory that season, and a Premier League title a year later.


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