Liverpool 3 – 0 Brentford- Premier League Man of the Match

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Liverpool 3 – 0 Brentford- Premier League Man of the Match

Virgil van Dijk

It would have been very easy for me to have awarded Mohamed Salah as the Premier League man of the match today, as the Egyptian King dazzled and scored his way towards a brilliant attacking two-goal performance. With 200 goals scored in his duration of English football, recognition of both the day and his tenure of unequalled brilliance would not be untoward. In the opening twelve games of this ongoing 2023/24 campaign, ten goals and four assists make him an early front runner for all individual awards at the seasons close. All this is clear and gives us reason to marvel at the exploits of the record-breaking scorer, yet there was one monstrous performance which overshadowed his teammates output today, which was a defensive masterclass.

Today as with most of the campaign thus far, Virgil van Dijk has been utterly superb. Any lingering doubts about his body and level of play must now be set aside, as the world’s greatest defender has confirmed his position at the peak of the rearguard mountain. The midweek humiliation in Toulouse was an uncomfortable and uncoordinated mess, one that saw the likes of Kostas Tsimikas and Wataru Endō struggle terribly against mediocre opponents. The moment they started alongside their Dutch captain today, I was neither worried or annoyed at their inclusion, as I knew that the instruction and brilliance of their skipper would guid them to far better performances. The fact that this system is reliant on the organisational approach of the former Southampton defender cannot be underestimated, given how the likes of Alberto Moreno once saw his play elevate so much when plugged next to the 6ft 4inch colossus.

Captain Marvel

The statistical breakdown today struggles to explain just how elite a player and how tremendous a man he was. The ability to play and succeed with his long balls from deep, was a constant source for how the reds started attacks. As an impenetrable force of nature, it allows massive amounts of confidence to spread across the team, in the knowledge that he can always clear his lines. The leader of the team has always been the former Celtic man, regardless of any armband or tag that was given before. This formation and hybrid initiative will suffer many mishaps along the way, which is why the continued unearthly levels of Alisson Becker and Virgil are so vital to Liverpool 2.0.

I wanted to complete this article only after watching how the Chelsea v Manchester City result unfolded. That 4-4 draw means that Liverpool sit 2nd in the league, with a brilliant 27 points leaving them just one point behind the Etihad leaders. Certain components of the reds current squad are imperative to any title challenge, which is why the stature and quality of Virgil van Dijk is aiding that drive. Today was a case of two superstars standing above the others, as the man with arm band drove and guided his side to the award of man of the match.

As long as this giant continues in this vein of form, an unexpected challenge for the 2023/24 Premier League title remains a possibility.

Wouldn’t that be something.

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