This weekend saw Liverpool maintain their eight point lead over Leicester City at the top of the table, the gap to Manchester City was extended to 11 points. The Reds showed no signs of letting up as they won yet again, this time beating Brighton & Hove Albion 2-1 at Anfield. After the game, Aaron Connolly of Brighton referred to Virgil van Dijk as the “best in the world”.
Saturday was a frustrating affair for Kopites. Jürgen Klopp’s men surged into a two goal lead thanks to two headers from Virgil in the first 24 minutes. The Reds were pegged back with just over 10 minutes remaining due to a controversial free kick.
Speaking to the Brighton and Hove Independent after the game, the Seagull’s 19-year-old forward reflected on facing the Reds’ number four:
“There was one point where I thought I was in and then and he (van Dijk) comes back and he’s toed it back to his keeper and I’m just thinking, sometimes you have to appreciate you are playing against the best defender in the world. To play against someone like that at 19 can only help. Obviously he’s a brilliant player so it was tough but I thought I did okay.”
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Aaron Connolly versus Virgil van Dijk was always going to be a mismatch, however, the young Irishman gave a thoroughly impressive account of himself.
The 19-year-old definitely has a bright future in the game. He was tenacious, determined and full of pace. As he pointed out, coming up against the best defender in the world at his age can only do you good. Particularly given that Van Dijk is not only the best defender in the world, he’s the best defender in the world in a while.
The Dutchman’s ability to maintain his concentration whether he is coming up against Kylian Mbappe or Aaron Connolly is one of the reasons he is the globe’s top centre back.
Fingers crossed tonight will see Big Virg given just reward for his efforts at the Ballon d’Or ceremony.