BBC pundit lauds Virgil van Dijk after Liverpool beat Everton
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BBC pundit lauds Virgil van Dijk after Liverpool beat Everton

Garth Crooks has told BBC Sport that Virgil van Dijk seemed to be the only player to keep his cool in the Merseyside derby, while he suggested that he does not know what Liverpool would do without the centre-back.

The Reds ultimately got the three points that keeps the pressure on Manchester City. But they were made to work hard to break the visitors down at Anfield.

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Everton’s game-plan seemed to work extremely well during the first-half. They looked to frustrate Liverpool and stay compact to restrict chances.

The Reds were far from their best. And tempers did boil over, with Abdoulaye Doucoure sparking a melee between the two teams by lashing out at Fabinho with a nasty challenge.

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Some of the players did not cover themselves in glory in the incident. Sadio Mane could have perhaps been sent off for separate incidents involving Allan and Mason Holgate.

But Crooks has lauded the way Van Dijk handled himself in the game, and seemingly in the first-half clash between the two teams. He suggested that he is simply irreplaceable for Liverpool.

“I really don’t know what Liverpool would do without Virgil van Dijk,” he told BBC Sport. “He was the only player who managed to keep his cool in the Merseyside derby when all around him seemed to be losing theirs.

“In another fractious affair between these two sides there was a moment when bookings were being thrown around by referee Stuart Attwell like confetti.”

Van Dijk helping Liverpool grind out results they need in title race

Liverpool have now kept six clean sheets in their last 10 games. In fact, the only teams who have scored past Alisson in that run are Benfica and Manchester City.

Van Dijk has been excellent throughout the campaign. He is not the only one. But his presence clearly makes a massive difference for the Reds.

They are continuing to get the results they need to keep pushing Manchester City all the way. And clearly, many will suggest that Van Dijk is crucial to that.

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