Liverpool rounded off their title-winning season with a 3-1 victory away to Newcastle United. Jürgen Klopp named a much-changed side for the ultimate game of the season with five different players making the starting XI from the Chelsea game.
One man who didn’t start on the bench was Virgil van Dijk. The Dutchman started against the Magpies to record two consecutive seasons where he has started every single Premier League game. The No.4 played the full 90 minutes against Steve Bruce’s side becoming only the fifth outfield player to play every minute of a title-winning campaign.
While the defender could be criticised for giving away the free-kick for the home side’s goal, the rest of his performance was virtually faultless. He was defensively dominant and the same could be said offensively with the centre-half scoring the equaliser to atone for his earlier error.
For his goal, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain lifted an excellent cross into the box and van Dijk towered above two Newcastle players to loft it over the helpless Martin Dúbravka in goal. His goal was the start of Liverpool’s fight back after going a goal down early on.
Admittedly, the Reds’ back line didn’t have much to do with the Tyneside club only having a one shot on target other than their goal. The £75million player won four of five aerial duels, made one clearance and finished the game with the most passes completed (67) as well as a 94pc pass accuracy.
Virgil van Dijk is the best in the world – his achievements and individual awards across the past two seasons prove that. His ability to avoid injury and always be available for selection is one just of the reasons he has become so valuable for Klopp.Embed from Getty Images
Having a stalwart player at the heart of the defence has allowed Liverpool to continue that consistency when it comes to keeping the ball out of their own net.
The season is now finished. Liverpool and van Dijk are Premier League champions. However, it won’t be long before we see our centre-half back in action with the players set to return to training in just two weeks to prepare for a title defence.
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