Virgil Van Dijk’s towering header helped Liverpool to a 3-1 victory over Bayern Munich that secured a place in the Champions League quarter-finals.
The match, which followed a goalless first leg, was finely balanced after Joel Matip’s own goal cancelled out Sadio Mane’s brilliant opener.
But Van Dijk, so influential in defence since his £75million signing, proved how valuable he can be at the other end with a towering far-post header for his third goal in four matches – more than he had scored in his previous 55 appearances.
The leadership of Van Dijk, suspended for the Anfield tie, was critical as he and Matip kept the competition’s leading scorer Robert Lewandowski at arm’s length.
It was made all the more urgent to do so after Liverpool lost their captain Jordan Henderson to injury after 13 minutes.
In the absence of the England international, van Dijk stepped up to the plate and contributed an assist and a crucial goal for Jurgen Klopp’s men.
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According to FourFourTweet, since the Dutchman’s debut in 2018, no Premier League side has kept more clean sheets than the Reds (23).
In 41 games in the league and in Europe, not a single player has dribbled past the 27-year-old.
With Andrew Robertson suspended for the first leg of the quarter-finals, Liverpool will need ‘Big Virg’ to deliver another sensational performance.