Van Dijk scores derby debut winner

Van Dijk Liverpool

Virgil van Dijk scored a debut winner for Liverpool in their 2-1 FA Cup third round victory over local rivals Everton at Anfield.

Milner on the spot on 35′
Sigurdsson levels on 67′
Van Dijk heads in on 85′

Match summary

James Milner gave the Reds a first-half advantage from the penalty spot, only for Gylfi Sigurdsson to put a spanner in the works for Liverpool with his 67th minute equaliser.

But it proved to be a dream debut for Van Dijk, who headed in a late winner to secure his new side’s passage into the fourth round.

Full report

Van Dijk had a couple of early touches to settle any nerves he may have had prior to his Liverpool debut, as the hosts began the tie in dominant fashion.

Sadio Mane had the first real chance of the tie, with a shot from 30 yards that veered off target.

But it was a much-improved showing early on from Everton compared to their last Anfield outing, although they almost went behind from a James Milner volley on 26 minutes that wasn’t too far wide.

After Yannick Bolasie whipped in a few wasted crosses from good positions out wide, Mane was again off target at the other end.

But Liverpool then went ahead as Milner slammed a 35th minute penalty past Jordan Pickford after Mason Holgate dragged Adam Lallana down inside the area.

Joe Gomez should have doubled Liverpool’s lead nine minutes into the second half, with a header from a corner, but he failed to even hit the target from six yards out.

Lallana failed to test Pickford with a weak effort after Emre Can’s through ball, before Andrew Robertson went past Cuco Martina and saw his shot saved by the Everton keeper.

Van Dijk came close to a debut goal after meeting a 63rd minute free-kick, but he headed straight at Pickford. At the other end, Everton came close to scoring with their first real attack of the second half when Dominic Calvert-Lewin headed just wide.

But Everton pulled level in the 67th minute after Sigurdsson slotted home from a Phil Jagielka cut-back after a swift counter-attack involving substitute Ademola Lookman and Bolasie.

On came Dominic Solanke and Alexander-Arnold for Gomez and Milner as Liverpool tried to force the win. Jagielka did well to head clear a driven Firmino shot, but it was van Dijk’s night.

In the 85th minute, the £75million defender popped up when he was needed most as he rose highest from a corner to power his header home.