Well, that was disappointing. The Premier League champions will not be breaking the all-time record points haul following Liverpool’s 2-1 defeat at Arsenal.

Two hugely uncharacteristic defensive mistakes ultimately cost Liverpool as Alexandre Lacazette and Reiss Nelson cancelled out Sadio Mane’s opener to emerge 2-1 victors.

With two matches remaining, Liverpool can secure a maximum of 99 points which would be two points better than last season as well as a club-record.

One player who was totally unlike himself at the Emirates Stadium was Virgil van Dijk. The UEFA Player of the Year gift-wrapped Arsenal a route back into the game and was ultimately the turning point in the match.

It has been almost non-existent to see the big Dutchman make a mistake of that calibre since Van Dijk joined the club two years ago. It was only his second error leading to a goal in 88 matches. It proved that even the greatest in the game are human.

Liverpool’s Dutch defender Virgil van Dijk (L) vies for the ball against Arsenal’s English midfielder Reiss Nelson (R) during the English Premier League football match between Arsenal and Liverpool at the Emirates Stadium in London on July 15, 2020. (Photo by Glyn KIRK / POOL / AFP) / RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE. No use with unauthorized audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or ‘live’ services. Online in-match use limited to 120 images. An additional 40 images may be used in extra time. No video emulation. Social media in-match use limited to 120 images. An additional 40 images may be used in extra time. No use in betting publications, games or single club/league/player publications. / (Photo by GLYN KIRK/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)

Following the defeat, Van Dijk was the first to hold his hands up and stated that Liverpool were the masters of their own wrongdoing as the Reds fell to only their third defeat of the season.

“Obviously the goals we gave them were a present. We gave them two goals and then it is difficult to come back”, Van Dijk said during a post-match interview with Sky Sports.

“We created some opportunities but if you give the goals we gave away today you get what you deserve.

 

“The goals shouldn’t happen. But until then, there was nothing wrong, we played well, pressed them scored a great goal. A moment of concentration, that happens in football.

“It’s too easy to say that. If you watch the game you can see until the mistake there was nothji g wrong we played well. We believed we could win comfortably at one point.

“Unfortunately I made the mistake and I take the blame for it.”

Two huge lapses in concentration cost Reds

LONDON, ENGLAND – JULY 15: Jurgen Klopp, Manager of Liverpool talks to his team during a drinks break during the Premier League match between Arsenal FC and Liverpool FC at Emirates Stadium on July 15, 2020 in London, England. Football Stadiums around Europe remain empty due to the Coronavirus Pandemic as Government social distancing laws prohibit fans inside venues resulting in all fixtures being played behind closed doors. (Photo by Shaun Botterill/Getty Images)

Van Dijk was the only player who was guilty of making an uncharacteristic error. Alisson Becker also was responsible for gifting Arsenal a goal that was taken well by Nelson.

Liverpool dominated possession and had a total of 24 shots in comparison to Arsenal’s three. It was also the first time all season the Reds have dropped points in back-to-back PL fixtures.

The players just need to re-focus, as Van Dijk says, and concentrate on getting a win at home to Chelsea next week where the champions will finally get their hands on that Premier League trophy.

 

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