Virgil van Dijk Happy to Sacrifice Liverpool Clean Sheets in Order to Win Games

Tom Sunderland@@TomSunderland_Featured ColumnistDecember 5, 2019

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - NOVEMBER 30: Virgil Van Dijk of Liverpool celebrates scoring his teams second goal during the Premier League match between Liverpool FC and Brighton & Hove Albion at Anfield on November 30, 2019 in Liverpool, United Kingdom. (Photo by Chloe Knott - Danehouse/Getty Images)
Chloe Knott - Danehouse/Getty Images

Liverpool defender Virgil can Dijk has said he's happy to concede goals provided it means winning games, adding he won't lose sleep if he fails to keep a clean sheet en route to victory.

The Reds dominated Everton 5-2 in the Merseyside derby at Anfield on Wednesday, with Jurgen Klopp's men having failed to keep a clean sheet since they beat Sheffield United 1-0 on September 28.

Van Dijk, 28, spoke about his side's performance after the game, per the Guardian's Andy Hunter: "No one wants to concede goals even if you win the game. But I am not going to go to bed thinking: 'Oh s--t, we conceded a goal.' It is all about the team winning games. We want to win in the best way possible, and obviously that is by not conceding, but if we win it with conceding, then everyone is still happy.”

Man-of-the-match Sadio Mane assisted twice and scored a goal of his own against the Toffees. Divock Origi bagged a brace, while Xherdan Shaqiri and Georginio Wijnaldum also contributed to the scoreline in a convincing win:

Klopp may be willing to forgive Everton's goals—scored by Michael Keane and Richarlison—after swapping in the likes of Origi, Shaqiri, Adam Lallana and James Milner, who now have a combined 10 league starts this season.

The team may be less accepting of the decades-old records they're beginning to match, however, per the Daily Mail's Dominic King:

Dominic King @DominicKing_DM

Some things for Jürgen Klopp to consider. • Liverpool have now gone 11 games without keeping a clean sheet, the worst run since 1998. • Nine visiting teams have been to Anfield this season - each one has scored 🔴

The win over Everton marked Liverpool's 13th game without a clean sheet, though it's worth heeding Van Dijk's words in that the team has won 10 and drawn three of those. They even went on to beat Arsenal via penalties in the Carabao Cup following their 5-5 thriller in October.

It seems no coincidence the Reds' run of poorer defensive form started around the same time Joel Matip—Van Dijk's usual centre-back partner—was sidelined by a knee injury.

The Cameroon international has developed into a crucial linchpin since his arrival on a free transfer in 2016. Klopp said in a press conference in September that he valued the defender as one of his best signings:

Dejan Lovren has been the main deputy alongside Van Dijk at the back, while Joe Gomez has offered support off the bench in several cameo appearances.

Lovren may not boast the same solidity in defence as his team-mate, but like Matip, the Croat has the potential to contribute positively going forward, as he showed in midweek:

Amazon Prime Video Sport @primevideosport

THE WAY DIVOCK ORIGI BRINGS THIS DOWN 😱 Admire a simply sensational @LFC goal... #PLonPrime #LIVEVE https://t.co/n8uJMPTI41

Liverpool kept an eight-point lead at the top of the Premier League following their latest victory, with their sole defeat this season coming at the hands of Napoli in the UEFA Champions League.

The Merseysiders visit Bournemouth on Saturday hoping they can increase that advantage, with the Cherries looking to recover after they lost 1-0 at Crystal Palace on Tuesday.