“Very proud of the team” – Liverpool Hero Virgil van Dijk Beaming With Pride After Carabao Cup Win, Explains How He Scored Winner Against Chelsea

Liverpool Hero Virgil Van Dijk
Liverpool Hero Virgil Van Dijk

Liverpool captain Virgil van Dijk has heaped praise on his young teammates for banding together in their dramatic 1-0 win over Chelsea in Sunday’s (February 25) Carabao Cup final. The Dutchman, who scored the winning goal in extra time, also explained how he went about his last-gasp header against the Pensioners.

Virgil van Dijk Proud Of How Youngsters Helped Liverpool To First Trophy Of The English Calendar

With the likes of Mohamed Salah, Darwin Nunez, Diogo Jota, Trent Alexander-Arnold, and Dominik Szoboszlai out of the game due to fitness issues, Jurgen Klopp fielded a make-shift XI for the Carabao Cup final against Mauricio Pochettino’s Blues at Wembley Stadium on Sunday afternoon.

As the game crept into extra time, Klopp had to take off a few other known faces, such as Andy Robertson, Cody Gakpo, Ryan Gravenberch, and Alexis Mac Allister. For the final half hour of the game, the Merseysiders were left with only two players — Virgil van Dijk and Luis Diaz — who would get into a full-strength Liverpool XI.

Still, against all odds, the Reds held firm and came away with a 1-0 victory, thanks to Van Dijk’s last-gasp winner. After the game, the Dutch center-back lauded his young teammates for holding firm and urged them to keep up the good work. He said (via FourFourTwo):

I’m very happy of course and very proud of the team, on all the young players who have been very important in the last few weeks and they must continue to do so for the club.

It’s just the situation we are in at the moment, with an extremely high number of injuries. Then other guys – in this case the young guys – have to stand up and they did.”

Van Dijk Explains How He Scored The Winner Against Chelsea

Van Dijk found the back of the Chelsea net in the 60th minute, courtesy of an unstoppable header. Luckily for the Pensioners, VAR chalked it off for offside. The former Southampton colossus struck again in the 118th minute, and this time, it stood.

Speaking to FourFourTwo, the 32-year-old explained the technique behind his headers and revealed the recipe for his winner.

Van Dijk added:

Usually I am marked quite tightly, often double marked – I am one of the main targets there and then you have to try to get some space. It’s about the delivery and you trying to come free – it’s a combination – and the last few games it has been perfect.

I knew the ball would come at the first post [for the winner], in front of Mudryk. And then you have to head it well, and that’s what happened.

In addition to directing Kostas Tsimikas’ delivery into the back of the net, Van Dijk created a couple of chances, completed 92 passes (91% accuracy), delivered three accurate long balls, and won seven duels.

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