Virgil van Dijk swiftly put an end to the discussion regarding Liverpool’s defensive struggles by promptly accepting full responsibility.
A significant victory for Mikel Arteta’s squad in the ongoing Premier League title battle unfolded. Despite conceding an unfortunate goal just before halftime, the North London team displayed resilience, securing the win with second-half goals from Martinelli and Trossard.
In a pivotal moment during their 3-1 loss to Arsenal, the Reds’ captain was implicated in a defensive lapse, mishandling a long ball and experiencing a miscommunication with Alisson Becker, ultimately enabling Gabriel Martinelli to effortlessly score into an open goal.
This incident drastically altered the course of the match, as Liverpool, who had been fortunate to go into halftime level at 1-1, found themselves on the back foot after dominating the second half.
Van Dijk’s failure to clear the ball, coupled with Alisson’s unsuccessful attempt to deal with it, sparked debates about who was at fault.
Addressing the issue after the match, the Dutch defender Virgil van Dijk took full responsibility for the defensive lapse.
“The 2-1 goal I take full responsibility for that, and that’s a big turning point in the game.”
“I should have done better and I should have made a better decision there. It hurts for me and it hurts for the rest of the team.
“It’s a big turning point, we were so good after the break, we were having opportunities, we were dominant, I think the energy started to drain a little bit.”
“I should just try and clear it but I made the split-second wrong decision and unfortunately these things happen sometimes in football but that doesn’t take away that it hurts.”
The defensive lapse leading to Arsenal’s second goal was not the sole moment Liverpool must scrutinize post-match.
Van Dijk and his center-back partner Ibrahima Konate appeared disorganized during Bukayo Saka’s opener, adding another area of concern.
As the chances of salvaging something from the game dwindled at 2-1, Van Dijk failed to intercept Leandro Trossard in time, allowing the Belgian to slot the ball through Alisson’s legs, sealing the fate of the match.
Manchester United legend Roy Keane showed little sympathy for Van Dijk, openly criticizing Liverpool’s overall defensive performance throughout the game.
“Liverpool defensively, the goals they gave away, it was like a pub team defending.”
He added: “In terms of the intensity from the first whistle to the last with Liverpool, in possession and without, I can’t believe how bad they were, but credit to Arsenal, they turned up and were at it.”
While the Reds maintain a two-point lead at the league summit, Manchester City’s upcoming match against Brentford could narrow the gap to just two points if they secure a victory.
The title race continues to be thrilling and competitive.