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Sunday, May 19, 2024

Liverpool’s Van Dijk claims ‘responsibility’ for Martinelli goal


Virgil van Dijk took the blame for the mistake that set Liverpool on course for a 3-1 defeat at Arsenal, saying that the defensive mix-up with goalkeeper Alisson Becker that gifted a goal for Gabriel Martinelli was “my responsibility.”

Martinelli put Arsenal 2-1 ahead in the 67th minute of the Premier League clash at the Emirates after Liverpool captain Van Dijk and Alisson collided on the edge of the penalty area to leave the Brazil international with an open goal from 18 yards.

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With Ibrahima Konaté subsequently sent off by referee Anthony Taylor for two yellow cards, Arsenal substitute Leandro Trossard sealed a 3-1 win when Alisson made another error by conceding the shot at the near post.

But with Martinelli’s goal proving to be the decisive moment in the win which moved Arsenal into second spot, two points behind leaders Liverpool, Van Dijk said the mistake was down to him.

“A tough day,” Van Dijk said to Sky Sports. “I think the 2-1 [Martinelli’s goal], I take full responsibility for that.

“That is a big moment in the game. I should have made a better decision — it hurts for me.

“The turning point is my responsibility, I should try to clear it. Obviously these things don’t happen too often in my career, but I will recover from this.

“It is a physical game and I am not looking for excuses. At the highest level it is a split decision.

“Alisson touched me a little bit and he couldn’t clear it, but I take full responsibility for this and I will try to make sure this doesn’t happen again.

“It hurts losing. The way we did it today and in so many ways it was unnecessary.

“It hurts for me and seeing the fans coming all the way down and the whole club it is not nice to be involved in mistakes, but I will work hard and be back.”

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp admitted that his team did not deserve to win at the Emirates and move eight points clear of Arsenal.

But he defended Van Dijk and Alisson, saying that the mistakes were “human” and highlighted how reliable they have been over the years for Liverpool.

“We conceded a very strange goal,” Klopp told reports in his news conference after the game.

“Just unlucky. It was an easy goal. It doesn’t happen very often, but it can happen.

“We can play much better football. If we want to, we have to play much better and we will.

“Our two main guys had a misunderstanding. It just shows they are human beings and makes the things they usually do even more special.

“They’re not happy, we’re not happy, that’s it. You can play super here and lose. We just have to take it and deal with it.”

Liverpool’s defeat means that champions Manchester City can claim top spot if they win their two games in hand, starting at Brentford on Monday.

But Klopp said he had no time to worry about City, who are five points off the pace, overtaking his team.

“At the final whistle, I didn’t think for a second how many games in hand City have and who they play,” Klopp said.

“We just have to play to our potential and see where it ends up.

“I don’t become nervous because of City’s games in hand. For us, nothing really changed, We would have loved to win here, but for the whole 90 minutes, we weren’t good enough.

“Dealing with defeats is a challenge and we have a long week until Saturday, so we will prepare and train all week. It’s a home game and we can turn things around. We can still control our own destiny.

“It’s done, I don’t care about it anymore. Not just a bad day at the office, but we just have to make sure it doesn’t happen again.”

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