Virgil van Dijk earned heartfelt praise from Steve Cotterill after congratulating the Shrewsbury Town manager’s players in the away dressing room after Liverpool sealed a 4-1 victory at Anfield on Sunday.
Liverpool set up a FA Cup fourth-round clash against Cardiff City thanks to goals from Kaide Gordon and Roberto Firmino, plus a Fabinho brace.
However, it was the League One outfit who took a shock 1-0 lead in the 27th minute through Daniel Udoh.
The Shrews gave an excellent account of themselves against Jurgen Klopp’s revered side, playing at one of the toughest away grounds in England.
And Van Dijk visited Shrewsbury’s dressing room to praise all the players for their efforts after the final whistle.
Steve Cotterill hails Virgil van Djik
“Virgil van Dijk came in our dressing room afterwards, congratulated everyone, said well done, brought his shirt in, shook hands and I thought that was absolutely top, top drawer,” Cotterill said, per the Liverpool Echo.
“Not only is he a top player, he’s a gentleman. It’s a very good experience for our players today to experience that.
“You can’t go away from here and not think that this is a special football club.”
Van Dijk praised by Shrewsbury player
Elliott Bennett, who played 88 minutes of the match on Shrewsbury’s right flank, tweeted: “Classy on and off the pitch. Rolls Royce of a player and without doubt the Worlds best centre back. Touch [of] class coming in to see the boys and give our goal scoring hero his shirt!”
The 33-year-old was replying to Van Dijk, who tweeted: “Into the next round we go, the young boys did well! Well played to Shrewsbury, good luck for the rest of the season.”
Classy stuff from the talismanic Dutchman, who captained the Reds in Jordan Henderson’s absence.
What else did Steve Cotterill say about Liverpool?
Speaking in his post-match press conference, Cotterill continued: “It’s been a great day for the football club. it isn’t a 4-1 scoreline. We would have liked to have had a little bit more of a go at them but it was very, very difficult for us to get the ball.
“When you think about that triangle they had in front of Kelleher, who is a good goalkeeper, it’s very, very difficult to get the ball off of Konate, Van Dijk and then Fabinho in the middle of the park. That’s a great axis to build your attacks.
“It was very, very difficult for us to get the ball off of them without completely opening the game up. If we had opened the game up, it could have been six or seven and that’s not where we wanted to be.
“I think we had them worried for five minutes when we got our noses in front but unfortunately that didn’t last too much more than five minutes. Maybe six or seven but that was it.”
He added: “I don’t think it was a 4-1 game. I think it was a 2-1 game but, not only when you look at the starting line-up that they had with Kelleher, young boy Bradley, but all of a sudden you’ve got Konate, Van Dijk, Robertson – it’s not a bad base for them to build off.
“And then, just for good measure at the end, they bring on Firmino and Minamino. It ends up being a little bit tough on us. I don’t think it was a 4-1 game.
“I’m very, very proud of our lads and very thankful to how Liverpool Football Club have been towards us today, from Jurgen Klopp, all the way through their team.”
Liverpool avoid upset (Football Terrace)
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