Van Dijk score late winner debut as Liverpool beats Everton

Van Dijk score late winner debut as Liverpool beats Everton

Virgil van Dijk scored the winner on his debut following his £75m move to Liverpool as the Reds edged past Everton to move into the fourth round of the FA Cup.

Van Dijk, the most expensive defender in world football after his move from Southampton earlier this week, headed in Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain's 84th-minute corner to decide a frantic Merseyside derby at Anfield.

Gylfi Sigurdsson had equalised with a curled finish from 20 yards after a quick breakaway move involving Yannick Bolasie, Ademola Lookman and Phil Jagielka.

Hosts Liverpool had gone ahead in the first half through James Milner's penalty after Mason Holgate pulled back Adam Lallana.

Holgate was also involved in a controversial incident with Roberto Firmino, with the Everton man pushing his opponent off the field and over an advertising hoarding, although neither man was booked.

'Not a penalty' - what they said

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp to BBC Sport: "It was for sure not the best piece of football for 95 minutes but a proper fight. I'm delighted with the attitude we showed again, it was a difficult game. It was not the night for brilliant football, to play through. You would love to see that but Everton defended well. They played football, a big difference to the last game between us.

"The equaliser was the worst protection I ever saw in my life. It made no sense at all. We were all in the wrong direction. But when you make mistakes in football you have to react and we did again. It was nice that Virgil van Dijk could score in his first game, a brilliant header. I am really happy.

"In front of the Kop, makes it even better. In Germany we say cup games have different laws and it was like that - there was an extra push from both sides.

"It was a similar situation [to the penalty against Liverpool for Everton last month], the first one was no penalty in my opinion and this one wasn't also. It's the same. There is contact and the referee used his whistle. Exactly the same situation.

"It was not necessary for Mason Holgate to give Firmino that push, it was really dangerous and usually players don't do that. We cannot change that."

Everton manager Sam Allardyce to BBC Sport: "We gave everything we could today and in the end we were disappointed we did not take them back to our place. It is a shame after all that effort.

"I didn't think it was a penalty, but there is not much we can do now. For me, I thought some of the fouls they got and bookings we got and fouls we didn't get was very harsh by the referee in terms of consistency. There were similar incidents, similar penalties.

"At the end of the day, we have given everything we could and we tried our very best today."

Asked about the incident between Holgate and Firmino, Allardyce replied: "I'm only interested in the football, not want happened with Firmino and Mason. I will definitely ask him and we will see where it goes from there."

More to follow.

Source: BBC SPORTS