The Reds played out a fierce clash against their city rivals in the third round on Friday night, with Van Dijk at the heart of proceedings.
Making his first outing for the club since his £75 million switch from Southampton, becoming the world’s most expensive defender, the pressure was on Van Dijk to perform.
The tie looked set to play out as a 1-1 draw after Gylfi Sigurdsson cancelled out James Milner‘s opener, but the No. 4 had other plans.
Rising highest as Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain sent in one of many pinpoint corners, Van Dijk diverted the ball past Jordan Pickford to seal the victory on his debut.
And speaking directly after the game alongside Milner, the Dutchman cut an elated figure.
“What a night. Fully deserved, of course,” he told BBC Sport.
“It felt amazing to be out there, playing with these guys. The goal was very special for me, and for my family as well.
“I think playing at Anfield for Liverpool is a dream for every player. That has come true, and to score a goal is even more special.”
Joining Van Dijk for post-match duties, Milner applauded his new team-mate for his immediate contribution, and the ability to rise to the challenge of a Merseyside derby.
“It’s not an easy game to step into, but it’s the sort of game he’s come here to play,” Friday’s captain explained.
“Anfield, the Merseyside derby, they had a lot of fans in as well.
“For him to step in and perform as he did is what we expect from him.”
Van Dijk is the second Liverpool player to score on his debut this season, following summer signing Mohamed Salah, who sat out of Friday’s victory with a groin injury.