With the Reds having clawed their way back into the game through Gabriel’s comical own goal, a mixup between Van Dijk and Alisson shifted momentum back.
A long ball from Gabriel should have been easily dealt with by the Liverpool captain, but under pressure from Gabriel Martinelli and with Alisson gallopping out of his box, it eventually fell for the forward to finish into an empty net.
Speaking to Sky Sports afterwards, Van Dijk took “full responsibility” for his error, apologising to supporters for his role in the defeat.
?? "It hurts."
Virgil van Dijk says he takes full responsibility for the second Arsenal goal which was a huge turning point in the game ? pic.twitter.com/9arK8jY8YV
— Sky Sports Premier League (@SkySportsPL) February 4, 2024
“Eventually a very tough day, definitely. I think the 2-1, I take full responsibility, that’s a big turning point in the game,” he explained.
“I should have done better, should have made a better decision there.
“It hurts. It hurts for me and it hurts for the rest of the team. Especially for me.
“It’s a big turning point in the game, especially because after the break we were so good.
“We had opportunities, we were dominant, I think the atmosphere became a little more nervous.”
Van Dijk continued: “It’s my responsibility.
“I should have just tried to clear it, made the split-second wrong decision and, unfortunately, these things happen in football sometimes, but that doesn’t take away that it hurts.
“These things haven’t happened too many times in my career, but it’s a tough one.
“I will recover from this, because I learn from things that don’t go well, but I will take the responsibility.”
Asked whether a nudge from Martinelli gave him an “excuse” of sorts for failing to deal with the situation, Van Dijk was adamant.
“It’s a very physical game, you see that, and I’m not looking for excuses,” he replied.
“On the highest level, it’s a split-second decision that you make.
“I choose to let the ball bounce, try to put my body in between, and eventually I think Alisson touched me a little bit and that’s why he couldn’t clear it properly.
“Things happen, but like I said, I take full responsibility for this. I will try to make sure things don’t happen again.”
Despite Liverpool dropping three points to a title rival, Van Dijk and his team-mates will not get carried away, with the Dutchman instead looking to put it right.
“It hurts, losing hurts, especially the way we did it today. In some ways, it was not necessary,” he concluded.
“But we take it game by game. It hurts, it hurts for me, seeing the fans come all the way down, the whole club…it’s not nice to be involved in mistakes.
“But I will work hard and be back, there’s no doubt about that. I will make sure these things don’t happen anymore.
“The next opportunity is on Saturday.”