Liverpool star Virgil van Dijk speaks out on his rare mistake which led to Alexandre Lacazette’s equaliser at Arsenal

Virgil van Dijk is tackled by Reiss Nelson in Liverpool's Premier League defeat to Arsenal
Virgil van Dijk was caught on the ball by Reiss Nelson and Alexandre Lacazette equalised (Picture: Getty)

Virgil van Dijk says he will take the responsibility and criticism ‘as a man’ after his error led to Alexandre Lacazette’s equaliser in Liverpool’s 2-1 defeat away to Arsenal.

Sadio Mane put the newly-crowned Premier League champions in front midway through the first half at the Emirates but Mikel Arteta’s men responded well to going behind and Reiss Nelson pounced as Van Dijk dawdled on the ball in the 32nd minute.

The usually ice-cool central defender panicked under pressure and Lacazette latched onto the Dutchman’s woeful attempted backpass before rounding Alisson and finding the back of the net.

Arsenal players celebrate against Liverpool
Arsenal sit ninth in the Premier League table after their victory (Picture: Getty)

The Gunners were gifted a second shortly before half-time as Alisson’s shocking clearance allowed Nelson to open his top-flight account and the hosts held on to their advantage to seal three valuable points in their battle to qualify for Europe.

Speaking to Sky Sports after the final whistle, Van Dijk said: ‘The goals we gave them as a present.

‘I think until their first goal it was totally us, we dominated, put pressure on them and we gave them two goals and obviously then it’s difficult to come back.

‘We created some opportunities and obviously they tried to break on us at times but obviously if you give the goals away like we did today, including myself, then we get what we deserve.

‘If you look at the goals, that shouldn’t happen. But until them there was nothing wrong.

‘We played very well, pressed them, scored a fantastic goal. Moments of concentration… it happens in football sometimes and you have to deal with it and today unfortunately we had to deal with it twice.’

Arsenal players celebrate at the Emirates
The Gunners responded well to going behind (Picture: Getty)

Van Dijk dismissed suggestions that Liverpool had become complacent after they were confirmed as champions last month.

‘It’s so easy to say that. It’s so easy to blame that as well, I think,’ the Liverpool defender said.

‘If you watch the game, then you can see until I made the mistake there was nothing wrong. We played well.

‘I had a feeling we could win here comfortably at one point but obviously if you give them the goals then we see what happens.

‘Unfortunately I made a mistake, I take the blame for it of course. I’ll take it as a man and move on.’

Van Dijk speaking to Sky Sports
Van Dijk accepted the blame for Lacazette’s equaliser (Picture: Sky Sports)

The Netherlands international continued: ‘We’ll try to win the last two games and get a well-deserved break.

‘But we don’t need to forget that we’ve had a fantastic season already.

‘Being champions of the Premier League is a dream come true and obviously tonight was disappointing but I’ll go home and it will be fine.

‘That’s the life of a footballer sometimes: you win and be a hero and sometimes you can be the villain in certain cases.’

The Merseyside giants were look to get back to winning ways and end their season on a high in their two remaining matches with Chelsea and Newcastle.

Klopp’s men will receive the Premier League trophy after their clash with Chelsea at Anfield next week.

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