For Van Dijk and Liverpool, a Winning Start

Jonathan Hernandez
January 9, 2018

Liverpool: Virgil van Dijk scored a dramatic late victor on his debut as Liverpool clinched a 2-1 victory over Everton in a heated Merseyside derby FA Cup tie at Anfield.

His headed goal off of an Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain corner kick in the 84th minute sent Anfield into an absolute delirium, instantaneously cementing himself into Liverpool folklore; you simply could not have written a better script for the Dutch worldwide on his debut. Van Dijk, whose recent acquisition from Southampton turned him into the world's most expensive defender, made his Liverpool debut in Friday's F.A. Cup match against Everton. Wayne Rooney scythed down Joe Gomez early on and was shown a yellow card.

Scoring the winning goal in front of the Kop in a Merseyside derby is as good of a first installment in a £75m repayment plan as one could muster.

The most explosive incident in a typically high-octane derby came just after Milner's goal when Holgate shoved Roberto Firmino into - and over - the advertising boards. Gylfi Sigurdsson equalized in the 67th but Everton's winless run at the home of its great rival extended to 21 games, dating back to 1999. A clearly unhappy Firmino vaulted back onto the field and sprinted toward Holgate, swearing in Portuguese, and was lucky that referee Bobby Madley stepped in between them to intervene.

Liverpool hasn't lost to Everton in 16 matches, a club record. Still, a penalty was awarded and Milner deftly clipped the ball down the middle.

Whether Van Dijk possesses those qualities in sufficient quantity to eliminate Liverpool's capacity for panic remains to be seen; it will take a season, maybe more, to establish whether he can do what Klopp believes he can.

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