Liverpool defender Virgil van Dijk’s astounding 70-match unbeaten record at Anfield in the English Premier League came to an end with the 2-1 loss to Leeds United on Saturday.
Crysencio Summerville’s last-minute winner secured three points for the visitors in a shock result — inflicting the Reds first home defeat of the campaign in any competition.
Rodrigo opened the scoring for the visitors early on, but Mohamed Salah restored parity, before the late drama.
Remarkably, this was the first game of Van Dijk’s career at the Merseyside club — whom he joined from Southampton in January 2018 — that he has been on the losing team during a league game at Anfield. Before Saturday he had been on the winning side 59 times alongside 11 draws — with no defeats.
This was Liverpool’s fourth Premier League defeat of the season — double the amount they suffered in the 2021-22 campaign.
Liverpool have lost league matches at Anfield during Van Dijk’s time at the club but those were during the 2020-21 season when the Dutchman was out with a lengthy injury.
Between January and March that season, the Reds crashed to successive home defeats against Burnley, Brighton, Manchester City, Everton, Chelsea and Fulham — having previously gone over three calendar years without suffering a league defeat in the stadium.
Manager Juergen Klopp was left to ponder his side’s inability to control games this season despite theReds dominating the game.
They enjoyed almost 70per cent possession and had10 shots on target but still they came away empty-handed as a 29-game unbeaten run at home was ended.
“It was a setback, absolutely. I thought we had a really good start then conceded a freakish goal,” Klopp said.
“We scored the equaliser, but for some reason it didn’t give us the security back. We struggled to control the game and gave too many balls away,” the German explained.
“The boys tried, we had good possession and had big chances but, in the end, if itis 1-1 and you defend the situation around the second goal like this, you leave everything open.
Klopp’s side created a total of 22 scoring chances but injuries and illness have robbed them of key players, not least in attack where they are missing Diogo Jota.
“Harvey (Elliott) has been exceptional for us this season. He had a good start but couldn’t keep it going. Thiago has been ill, upfront the same(players) play all the time —they are the three strikers we have left,” Klopp said glumly.
Liverpool have league games at Tottenham Hotspur and Southampton to come before next month’s World Cup, which cannot come quickly enough as Klopp seeks to find some answers to his sides poor form in the top flight.
“We had problems from the first day (of the season), injury-wise. Players have had to play from the first day. It’s our situation and it means we have to help ourselves, and that is what we will do,” he said.
Written with inputs from Reuters