Joel Matip‘s love for an adventure continued in earnest against Leeds and after a number of close calls, he finally ended one of his brazen runs with a goal. And Virgil van Dijk couldn’t have been happier.
Liverpool’s No. 32 is a much-loved figure and his progressive carries are a hallmark of his game, and against a man-marking Leeds, it was time to finally end a run with a goal.
From his one-two with Mohamed Salah to putting on the afterburners and finishing first time, it was an effort any forward would be proud of.
And his biggest fan in Van Dijk was one of the first to get around his centre-back partner, proudly lifting his shirt up to celebrate what was Matip’s first goal of the season.
“It’s a big quality of him – I wish I had that quality at times!” Van Dijk said.
“He just can go without any fear at all and hope for the best a little bit! But he has that quality.
“It’s a big strength of him and obviously, it’s useful because it drags other players from their position and today obviously the space was there to make that run and finish it off.
“I said to him already before the game I felt it coming because he had an assist for Diogo and I said, ‘A goal is next!’ so I’m obviously very happy for him. Very happy.”
The goal itself saw Liverpool equal their club record of 17 different goalscorers in a single league season, a record shared also shared with the 1911/12, 2015/16 and 2019/20 seasons.
The spread of contributors is a welcome sign for Liverpool but not just in terms of goals, with Van Dijk taking time to praise the entire centre-back contingent.
“I think the four of us, because we cannot forget Joe, who is obviously not even in the squad at the moment, but four of us are keeping each other as sharp as we can,” he added.
“We need everyone and obviously it’s very good to see that he is fit, he is playing on a high level and whether I play with him, Ibou or Joe, it’s always good to be out there together and work hard.”