A number of Liverpool supporters have taken to Twitter after footage was released of Virgil van Dijk swatting aside Erling Haaland during a Champions League Group Stage fixture in 2019.
The video has risen to prominence following Haaland’s latest masterclass on club football’s biggest stage following Borussia Dortmund’s victory against Sevilla on Wednesday night.
A generational talent
Haaland, 20, clocked up his 25th goal of the season in all competitions last night, after he netted an emphatic brace in a 3-2 win over Julen Lopetegui’s team, as the knockout stages got underway.
That takes his total Dortmund total to a whopping 41 goals in 42 matches since his made his £17.1 million [BBC] move in December 2019.
His numbers in Europe this season are even more ridiculous from a statistical outlook. In just five Champions League fixtures this season, Haaland has scored eight goals.
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He is the competitions top-scorer, too, ahead of Alvaro Morata, Neymar and Marcus Rashford.
Such sustained brilliance in the competition has made it difficult to think of a time where Haaland wasn’t wreaking havoc on the continent’s biggest stage.
In fact, there have been just two matches out of 13 in which the Norwegian superstar has failed to find the back of the net.
Haaland v Van Dijk
One of them was against Premier League champions Liverpool when Haaland was up against the then-recently crowned UEFA Player of the Year, Virgil van Dijk back in December 2019.
It’s fair to say that the towering Dutchman won that particular battle, with Van Dijk limiting Haaland to very few chances during a 2-0 victory for Liverpool.
In total, Haaland managed just 23 touches on the ball and was reduced to just one shot on target.
Compare that to last night’s figures and you get a stark difference in performance levels. Against Sevilla, Haaland had two goals and an assist, while creating two further chances for his team, as well as 40 touches on the ball, per WhoScored.
So, it would seem that Van Dijk is one of only a few defenders in world football who can claim to have enjoyed a quiet night when up against the 2020 Golden Boy.
Van Dijk capped off an impressive 2-0 victory over Haaland with one tackle, four interceptions and three clearances. He also won two of his aerial duels.
It’s no wonder, then, that Haaland previously hailed the Liverpool No.4 as one of the best centre-backs currently on the planet.
Recently, Haaland has hailed Van Dijk, telling Norwegian newspaper VGt “The best [centre-backs] are Sergio Ramos, [Virgil] Van Dijk and [Kalidou] Koulibaly. All three are very physical, but also very smart on the pitch,” he said to Norwegian newspaper VGt, via beIN SPORTS.
Let’s see what the Anfield faithful had to say on the leaked footage of two of Europe’s best players going toe-to-toe 14 months ago…