The big performer: Virgil van Dijk shows he really can defend and score

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By Scott Mason – @ScottMason00

Liverpool progressed to the last eight of the Champions League after beating Bayern Munich 3-1 away from home in Wednesday nights second leg tie.

The Reds travelled to the Allianz Arena after a 0-0 draw at Anfield and knew that even a score draw would see them into the next round. However, Klopp’s side did not have to rely on the away goal’s rule as they put on an impressive performance against the German giants.

Liverpool had many noticeable individual performances in Germany. Fabinho came on for Jordan Henderson, who twisted his ankle in the first 15 minutes, and was one of our better midfielders on the night.

Sadio Mané continued his incredible form and netted another brace after his double versus Burnley. Joel Matip despite his own goal also put in a great shift for the Reds.

However, it was his centre back partner Virgil van Dijk who impressed the most – the Netherlands captain came back into Klopp’s side for the second leg after missing the first through suspension and gave another one of his standard magnificent displays.

Van Dijk was key for our first goal after a brilliantly weighted long pass found Mané, who sent Manuel Neuer completely the wrong way with a fantastic piece of skill before chipping the ball into the far corner.

The No.4 was also able to get himself a goal after heading in James Milner’s corner in the 69th minute to give the Reds their lead back. Van Dijk’s goal also made him the first defender to score and get an assist in the same game in this season’s Champions League.

Whilst the centre half’s attacking presence was incredible, his defensive performance was just as good. Virgil was dominant in the defensive half. He won all three of his aerial duels and also made three interceptions whilst also clearing the ball from danger five times.

One of the defences main tasks in Wednesday night’s game was to keep frontman Robert Lewandowski quiet and the Cameroonian and Dutch pair did just that. The Pole struggled to create any good chance at Liverpool’s goal throughout the game and didn’t register a shot on target.

Virgil van Dijk was able to keep one of Europe’s elite No.9s quiet all night and was able to pick up a goal as well as an assist. His performance in Munich proved once again why Liverpool broke the world record fee for a defender to secure his signature.

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