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Virgil van Dijk lauds “fantastic” Diogo Jota as first Wembley final now awaits

After a match-winning display, Virgil van Dijk heralded the influence of the “very important” Diogo Jota after a place in the League Cup final at Wembley was secured.

The tie was finely balanced and needed someone to grab it by the scruff of the neck and that’s what Liverpool’s No. 20 did, with the aid of the brilliant Trent Alexander-Arnold.

Arsenal first came undone thanks to his mazy run before then succumbing to a run off the shoulder and a dink over Aaron Ramsdale that VAR found no fault with.

It signalled the start of celebrations as a six-year wait to return to Wembley to battle for silverware came to an end, and Van Dijk had plenty of praise for the man who helped the Reds get there.

Diogo Jota is already a fantastic player, the numbers speak for themselves,” Van Dijk told BBC Radio 5 Live.

LONDON, ENGLAND - Thursday, January 20, 2022: Liverpool's Diogo Jota (L) celebrates with team-mate Roberto Firmino (R) after scoring the second goal goal during the Football League Cup Semi-Final 2nd Leg match between Arsenal FC and Liverpool FC at the Emirates Stadium. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

“He is very important, he has shown it from last year and is a difficult striker, winger to play against. I know it from training. He stepped up again tonight.

“He took the second goal fanatically well, a great ball from Trent Alexander-Arnold and it put relief in the team.

“If it was 1-0 in the last 10 minutes it might have been tricky. We controlled the game overall and did not have massive chances.”

With a clinical edge needed, Jota more than delivered and his four-game run without a goal ended at the perfect time for Liverpool, who are now set for Wembley on February 27.

LONDON, ENGLAND - Thursday, January 20, 2022: Liverpool supporters celebrate after the Football League Cup Semi-Final 2nd Leg match between Arsenal FC and Liverpool FC at the Emirates Stadium. Liverpool won 2-0, 2-0 on aggregate. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

It’s a long-awaited opportunity to lift silverware in front of the fans and while Van Dijk is relishing the chance in his first Wembley final, Liverpool have a lot to do between now and then.

“I am definitely looking forward to it [Wembley], a chance to get a trophy and we will give everything we have when we are there.

“There are still so many games in between and the focus will be on it on the week to the game.”

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