Liverpool News

The keys to success, Virgil van Dijk charts the path to the Premier League title

Liverpool's first victory over Brentford in the Premier League was achieved with the title.

By Charles Cornwall

Liverpool's first victory over Brentford in the Premier League was achieved with the title.
Liverpool's first victory over Brentford in the Premier League was achieved with the title.
Síguenos enSíguenos en Google News

History was made in Liverpool's victory over Brentford in the Premier League on Saturday afternoon. As well as being Liverpool's first league win there, captain Virgil van Dijk also made his 250th appearance for the club, while putting in a performance worthy of the occasion. The spine of a team is a crucial element of any title-winning side. And at a place that has previously been a frustrating ground to visit, Liverpool's spine ensured that control of the game was never lost after it was garnered early in the first half.

Thank you Pharaoh, Salah is back and against Brentford he proved he is the best

The performance of Van Dijk was a key part of that, as he organized and dealt with everything Brentford could offer on the day, amid a stellar display alongside Ibrahima Konaté. Such form will be crucial should Liverpool sign off Jürgen Klopp's final year with a league title. No Liverpool player has picked up more wins from their first 250 games than van Dijk, with the victory over Brentford the 171st of his career on Merseyside. Trent Alexander-Arnold (168) is second, while Alisson, who missed out through injury, has 164.

While the Reds now face an anxious wait after injuries to Diogo Jota, Curtis Jones, and Darwin Núñez, the performance of Liverpool's spine shows that a winning run is still possible, particularly after the display of both of Klopp's center-backs. Speaking after the full-time whistle about Konaté, Van Dijk discussed his partnership with the France international. "I enjoy it a lot," he said. "Ibou is still learning and is still young. He’s got everything for a modern-day center-half. He’s a good learner and he wants to take the responsibility to be a leader for the team."

And the performances of Caoimhín Kelleher and Wataru Endō are also deserving of praise. Both Liverpool fans and Klopp were left frustrated at some of the tackles from Brentford during the match, and Endō had simply had enough of it by the end of the first 45 minutes. The Japan international was more aggressive after the restart, wasting no time in matching the aggression, including a challenge that saw him pick up a yellow card in the process. Liverpool showed that they weren't going to be bullied, and sometimes that's what is required in the tricky away matches.

Liverpool beat Brentford but Klopp is devastated by this news

Concise tests

Kelleher, previously referred to as the best back-up goalkeeper in the world by Klopp, demonstrated exactly why that is the case, too. The Republic of Ireland international was unlucky not to leave the pitch with a clean sheet, only conceding after a good initial save led to a rebound from Ivan Toney. Outside of the injury concerns, it was a perfect away performance from the Reds, who will have a significant claim for the Premier League title if they can replicate that level for the rest of the season, which should be possible if the spine remains fit.

More news