Home Sports Virgil van Dijk made a dream start for Liverpool following his £75m

Virgil van Dijk made a dream start for Liverpool following his £75m

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Virgil van Dijk made a dream start for Liverpool following his £75m

Virgil van Dijk made a dream start for Liverpool following his £75m move from Southampton as his late header settled a highly competitive FA Cup third round Merseyside derby against Everton at Anfield.Signed last week for $100 million as the world’s most expensive defender, Van Dijk scored an 84th-minute winner against Everton — Liverpool’s fierce local rival — in front of the storied Kop stand at Anfield in the third round of the F.A. Cup on Friday.

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Gylfi Sigurdsson’s smooth finish from the edge of the area put Everton level in the second half after Liverpool had taken the lead 10 minutes before half-time, with James Milner scoring from the penalty spot following Mason Holgate’s tangle with Adam Lallana.

In a fiercely fought game there was a first-half flashpoint when Holgate foolishly pushed Reds forward Roberto Firmino over the advertising hoardings and into the crowd, with the Everton defender left furious after the pair subsequently exchanged words.

“Playing at Anfield for Liverpool is a dream for every player,” the Netherlands defender said after the 2-1 win in the 230th Merseyside derby. “To score a goal is even more special.”

Manchester United also left it late to qualify for the fourth round, with in-form midfielder Jesse Lingard and striker Romelu Lukaku scoring in the final six minutes of regulation time in a 2-0 victory over second-tier Derby County at Old Trafford.

The third round continues across Saturday, Sunday and Monday.

Kevin Keegan, Michael Owen, Luis Suarez and Mohamed Salah are among those to have scored in their Liverpool debuts.

Add Van Dijk to the list.

Liverpool manager Juergen Klopp said the center-back wasn’t “fine-tuned” following his big-money move from Southampton and he wasn’t even going to start him until the morning of the match, when he changed his mind.

Van Dijk looked a bit rusty with the ball at his feet but was commanding in the air throughout, no more so than when he leaped in front of Everton goalkeeper Jordan Pickford on a corner to head the ball into an empty net.

“I think something like that is quite special,” Klopp said.

James Milner put Liverpool ahead in the 35th minute by converting a penalty, contentiously awarded after Adam Lallana fell to the ground after Mason Holgate placed his hands on the chest of the Liverpool midfielder.

“We gave everything we could today and in the end we were disappointed we did not take them back to our place. It is a shame after all that effort.

“I didn’t think it was a penalty, but there is not much we can do now. For me, I thought some of the fouls they got and bookings we got and fouls we didn’t get was very harsh by the referee in terms of consistency. There were similar incidents, similar penalties.

“At the end of the day, we have given everything we could and we tried our very best today.”

Asked about the incident between Holgate and Firmino, Allardyce replied: “I’m only interested in the football, not want happened with Firmino and Mason. I will definitely ask him and we will see where it goes from there.”
Everton manager Sam Allardyce to media

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