Liverpool have overcome yet another hurdle in the title race this afternoon, coming up with a late winner to beat Spurs on a 2-1 scoreline. It was a huge result for Liverpool, who can afford few slips ups in the last few games if they are to end their 29-year title drought.
While Mo Salah was the one who created the winning goal, Virgil van Dijk popped up with an equally as vital contribution a few minutes earlier. With Spurs catching out Liverpool with a two-on-one counterattack, the Dutchman was the last line of defence for his side as he tried to stop the visitors taking the lead.
He managed to do just that, stopping the pass from Moussa Sissoko to Heung Min-Son, before forcing the midfielder to take an off-balance shot at goal.
Any other defender and it’s 2-1 to Tottenham. £75 million for Virgil Van Dijk is bargain of the century and I don’t want to hear a word. pic.twitter.com/uEgolDtV7x
— - (@AnfieldRd96) March 31, 2019
It was just the latest example of his brilliance in what has been a remarkable season, and he is certainly one of the top defenders in the game at the moment.
But he is not unflappable, at least according to Jonny Walters. The former Ireland international came up against van Dijk on a number of occasions, and he had a few tricks to get the best of the defender. He explained his methods on the BBC earlier today:
— Match of the Day (@BBCMOTD) March 30, 2019
I played against him a few times at Southampton, Liverpool, and Holland as well. When you come across a player like van Dijk, you're not really going to outrun him, he's comfortable on the ball. He's good in the air, although I won a fair share of headers.
You've got to get into his head a little bit. The dark arts come into force. Things off the ball when he is running up for corners, giving him a bit and blocking him. Just getting into his head a little bit...
I think he's probably grown up in the last few years, he was only a young guy and you get used to it. Obviously he was playing up in Scotland and came to the Premier League. You play against different players at different teams.
I would give him a bit off the ball and get into his head, that would take his mind off it a little bit. I enjoyed playing against him as well.
If only it was that easy. Of course, van Dijk has come on leaps and bounds as a player in the past two years, and it would not be as easy to knock him off his game at the moment.
Although if there was any man to do it, you'd fancy Jonny Walters to give it a good go.