The Emirates saw another Premier League classic as Mikel Arteta’s Arsenal won 3-1 against the Kops and moved up to the second position in the league table on 49 points, just 2 points short of league leaders Liverpool.
However, what garnered more attention than the match itself were defensive mistakes by Liverpool’s captain Virgil van Dijk, which ultimately caused them the game.
Virgil van Dijk takes responsibility of costly mistake
An uncharacteristic mistake from Virgil van Dijk in the second half of the match proved to be the turning point when the Liverpool captain fumbled a clearance as communications with goalkeeper Alisson broke down, which allowed Arsenal’s Gabriel Martinelli to put the ball in an empty net.
In the post-match interview, Van Dijk shouldered the blame, “I should have done better, I should have made a better decision there. It hurts for me, and it hurts for the rest of the team. It was a big turning point in the game because I think especially after the break, we were so good.”
“It’s my responsibility. I should just clear it, but I made the split-second wrong decision and unfortunately these things happen sometimes in football. But that doesn’t take away from the fact that it hurts,” the Dutch international took full responsibility of the loss.
Liverpool will also be without Ibrahim Konate in their next game as the centre-back was sent off in the 88th minute, and as if it weren’t embarrassing enough, Leandro Trossard scored a third goal through Alisson’s legs to make it 3-1 in added time.
With this win over Liverpool, Arsenal have blown the title race wide open. While Liverpool are on the top of the table with 51 points, Arsenal have closed the gap to just 2 points. Meanwhile, Manchester City are on 46 points with 2 games in hand. If City do win their next two games, they would go on top of the table with a 1-point lead.
Roy Keane and Jamie Carragher discuss Virgil van Dijk’s mistake
As the Reds suffered their second league defeat of the season, Liverpool captain and centre back Virgil van Dijk came under intense criticism from former football players and pundits, including Roy Keane and Jamie Carragher.
“It’s a big mistake that you make once a season and it’s just happened at the worst time possible. Van Dijk needs to head that – does the goalkeeper make a bit of a rash decision? Yes, but Van Dijk just needs to head it! Don’t complicate it, don’t let it bounce! Head it back to Konate, or Alisson, he gets nudged slightly which might put Alisson slightly but that’s well within Martinelli’s right to do that – we’re playing at the top level,” said Carragher.
Roy Keane also chimed in, “I agree with Jamie, I think defenders are making things overly complicated for themselves. Just head the ball! We’ve had players be quite laid back, casual – switch on! Smell the danger, head the ball! You’re a big, strong boy, just get it clear!”
How impactful do you think Liverpool’s defeat to Arsenal will be in their hunt for the league title? Let us know in the comments below!