Virgil van Dijk leads Netherlands to dramatic comeback on penultimate night of Liverpool internationals

20 November 2018

Virgil van Dijk hit a stunning last-minute equaliser to send the Netherlands to the Nations League semi-finals on the penultimate night of internationals.


Xherdan Shaqiri was Liverpool’s star performer on the international scene over the weekend, but Van Dijk followed his lead with a crucial intervention for the Netherlands on Monday.

The third-in-command at Anfield is the regular captain of his national team and Van Dijk’s influence was on show in the attacking penalty box this time.

Trailing 2-0 to Germany until the final, the Dutch side completed a remarkable late comeback as Quincy Promes netted one and Van Dijk volleyed in a brilliant equaliser.

Gini Wijnaldum played an hour of the encounter, starting as a No. 10 after recent comments from his boss, Ronald Koeman, about the midfielder’s selflessness and growing maturity.

It was Van Dijk who proved crucial for his side this time, though, and that came after he had been hailed as one of the world’s best defenders by Oranje midfielder and former Everton man Davy Klaassen.

In an interview with Omnisport, Klaassen said he firmly believes Van Dijk is in the mix when it comes to discussing the best defender around.

“It is hard to mention one best defender in the world but he is one of the best.

“He is in the top 10 for sure. He’s so big and so good. I think he plays so well every week for Liverpool.

“With the national team he is the captain now, so he is really important for Holland.”

The late point earned sent Netherlands top of their Nations League group ahead of France, with Germany ending bottom, relegated.

ANN ARBOR, USA - Friday, July 27, 2018: Liverpool's goalkeeper Caoimhin Kelleher during a training session ahead of the preseason International Champions Cup match between Manchester United FC and Liverpool FC at the Michigan Stadium. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

There were no other senior internationals on the pitch from Jurgen Klopp‘s squad, though promising goalkeeper Caoimhin Kelleher got another close-up of the action as he watched on from the bench in Ireland’s 0-0 draw with Denmark.

Ireland have finished bottom of their Nations League group and will be relegated to League C next time around.

On the youth scene, Adam Lewis featured for England’s U20s as they beat their Germany counterparts 2-0, while Curtis Jones started for England U18s in a 3-1 win over Belgium.

Tuesday evening sees the final action of the international break, with four Liverpool players potentially involved.

SAINT PETERSBURG, RUSSIA - Friday, June 22, 2018: Brazil's substitute Roberto Firmino during the FIFA World Cup Russia 2018 Group E match between Brazil and Costa Rica at the Saint Petersburg Stadium. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Brazil face Cameroon at 7:30pm GMT, meaning the trio of Roberto Firmino, Fabinho and Alisson could see game time.

National team manager Tite has already confirmed that Firmino will start up front, while Fabinho could also feature after not playing in last week’s friendly against Uruguay.

Thankfully for Klopp and Co, the game takes place in Milton Keynes, meaning no long-haul flight after the match.

Andy Robertson is also in action, with the Scotland skipper set to lead his country against Israel in a Nations League match. Scotland will win their League C group and earn promotion if they manage a victory on home soil.

Two notable U21 starlets will be featuring, too. Dominic Solanke will be with England U21s against Denmark in a friendly, having netted a brace against Italy last week.

Finally, Kamil Grabara could be in action for Poland U21s, as they face Portugal in a Euro U21 Championships play-off second leg. Portugal lead 1-0 from the first encounter.

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