Van Dijk makes fairytale debut

Van Dijk makes fairytale debut

Liverpool defender slams winning goal in Merseyside derby

Van Dijk makes fairytale debut

Liverpool record signing Virgil van Dijk's winning goal in the 2-1 FA Cup third round win over city rivals Everton was like a 'fairytale', according to manager Juergen Klopp.

Playing in his first game following his move from Southampton last week, Dutch defender Van Dijk headed in an 84th minute corner to secure victory in the Merseyside derby.

"Nice one! A fairytale in a world with not a lot of fairytales anymore, so I think something like that is quite special," said a beaming Klopp.

The German manager had said he would not rush the £75 million ($101.76 million) new recruit into the team but changed his mind earlier on Friday.

"It was a difficult decision to make to be honest because, to be 100 per cent honest, the first plan was not to start him tonight but then Dejan (Lovren) and Raggy (Ragnar Klaven) played a lot of games in the last few weeks, so I changed my mind this morning. And it helped," he said.

Van Dijk impressed in his defensive work before grabbing the winner and Klopp said he was pleased with everything he saw from the Dutch international.

"He showed a lot of things we want him to show in the future very often tonight; heading of course, football-wise his first touch was good, good under pressure and then around set pieces a proper threat."

Not surprisingly Van Dijk was delighted with his debut.

"I don't think it can get any better. It was a fantastic night," said the 26-year-old.

"To score the winner in a derby on my debut is something every little boy dreams of. I just did it.

"I'm very happy that we got through to the next round. We have a good chance to win this. I'm very happy to have my debut, to score and to win. It's just fantastic."

Man United win

Late goals by in-form Jesse Lingard and fit-again striker Romelu Lukaku helped Manchester United to reach the FA Cup fourth round as they ground out a 2-0 home win over Championship (second-tier) side Derby County on Friday.

The visitors looked likely to force a replay before Lingard struck with a first-time shot in the 84th minute for his fourth goal in as many games after a fine brace in a 2-2 Premier League draw with Burnley and another in a 2-0 win over Everton.

Lukaku, who returned from a head injury and came on as a halftime substitute for Henrikh Mkhitaryan, broke away and powered his shot past goalkeeper Scott Carson at the death as Derby threw men forward in search of an equaliser.

The outcome pleased United manager Jose Mourinho, who praised Lingard and Carson after he produced a barrage of superb saves.

"It was a great shot by Jesse Lingard in the top corner, he's in a moment of confidence where things go well for him," Mourinho told the BBC.

"He's a good professional and a fantastic kid in the dressing room.

"I was feeling that we were close to scoring and we never stopped trying. But when you get past 80 minutes and the goal hasn't come, you fear the second match. But the team kept trying so I knew the goal could arrive."

United had missed a string of chances as Lingard hit the post with a fierce arrowed shot several minutes before he broke the deadlock and Marcus Rashford also found the woodwork with a glancing header in the opening half.

Carson kept out an array of stinging long range efforts, including three from Paul Pogba as United struggled to find a way through a resolute and well-organised visiting defence.

Pinned back for much of the contest, Derby launched several dangerous raids as defender Marcus Olsson and midfielder Tom Lawrence came close for the Rams, who finally cracked in the closing stages.

Carson was left clutching thin air as Lingard unleashed a swivelling shot into the top left corner from 18 metres and with Derby throwing caution to the wind, Lukaku raced clear to score his 16th goal for United in all competitions.

DH Newsletter Privacy Policy Get top news in your inbox daily
Comments (+)