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Van Dijk Made The Fastest Sprint In The Champions League At The Perfect Time

Van Dijk Made The Fastest Sprint In The Champions League At The Perfect Time
By Kevin Beirne

As if Liverpool fans needed another reason to love Virgil van Dijk, it has been revealed that the Dutch centre-half clocked the quickest sprint in last season's Champions League.

The 27-year-old outpaced the likes of Leroy Sane, Gareth Bale and Kylian Mbappe with a sprint that came in at an eye-watering 34.5km/h to take the title of fastest player in the tournament.

But it's not just the fact that Van Dijk recorded a better time than the world's best wingers that has caught the attention of Liverpool fans, with the timing of the Dutchman's sprint showing his incredible dedication.

The Liverpool defender made his winning sprint in the 92nd minute of Liverpool's 3-0 defeat to Barcelona at the Camp Nou in the first leg of the Champions League semi-final.

As Liverpool failed to trouble Marc-Andre ter Stegen from an injury time corner, the Catalans broke in search of a fourth goal to kill off the tie.

But Van Dijk evaded Sergio Busquets' attempts to pull him back and busted a lung to help Andy Robertson foil the Barcelona attack, with Robertson making the crucial block on Suarez's effort.

You can see part of the sprint in the second clip below.

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Liverpool fans won't need reminding of the importance of denying Barca another goal, as Jurgen Klopp's men recorded arguably the greatest comeback in the history of the tournament in the second leg.

Even without Mohamed Salah and Roberto Firmino, the Reds handed out a 4-0 thrashing at Anfield, with both Divock Origi and Georginio Wijnaldum scoring twice to send Liverpool to the final, where they beat Tottenham to claim their sixth European title.

But it could have been so different if Van Dijk hadn't sprinted back to cut off one of Lionel Messi's passing options - or if Robertson hadn't remained calm and defended two of the most dangerous players in world football by himself.

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The top five fastest players in the 2018/19 Champions League were:

5. Gareth Bale (Real Madrid) - 33.8 km/h

=3. Kyle Walker (Manchester City) - 34.2km/h

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=3. Nemanja Radonjic (Red Star Belgrade) - 34.2km/h

2. Leroy Sane (Manchester City) - 34.4km/h

1. Virgil van Dijk (Liverpool) - 34.5km/h

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