Georginio Wijnaldum of Holland during the UEFA Nations League A group 1 qualifying match between Germany and The Netherlands at the Veltins Arena on November 19, 2018 in Gelsenkirchen, Germany

Liverpool duo defeated as Netherlands beaten in UEFA Nations League final

Virgil van Dijk and Gini Wijnaldum missed out on UEFA Nations League glory for the Netherlands on Sunday night, losing 1-0 to Portugal in the final.

The two Liverpool favourites reached the inaugural showcase event in Porto after victory over England in the semi-finals on Thursday.

Standing between them and a second piece of silverware in just over a week were Portugal, led as always by Cristiano Ronaldo.

The Netherlands were inferior in the opening 45 minutes, with Van Dijk called into action a number of times.

Partnered with rumoured Liverpool transfer target Matthijs de Ligt—it is a move that is unlikely to happen, of course—the 27-year-old was typically dominant.

Meanwhile, Wijnaldum was more solid than spectacular in the middle of the park, although one nutmeg on Man City‘s Bernardo Silva was a moment that epitomised his class.

Ronald Koeman’s side continued to struggle in the second half and Portugal deservedly took the lead thanks to Valencia winger Goncalo Guedes.

It proved to be the only goal of the game despite a late onslaught from the Netherlands, which saw Van Dijk pushed further up in the field as the minutes ticked by.

While defeat will no doubt be disappointing for the Reds duo, they still have the small consolation of Champions League winners’ medals this season.

A very welcome break is now in order for Van Dijk and Wijnaldum, who have enjoyed gruelling but outstanding campaigns.

The 2018/19 season is one that has seen the Dutch pair cement their place in Liverpool history, especially Van Dijk, who is a strong contender for the prestigious Ballon d’Or in December.