Van Dijk identifies three qualities of Darwin Nunez that create disorder, while Gakpo and Salah praise him.
Virgil van Dijk is impressed by Liverpool’s new attacking lineup and sees it as a glimpse of the team’s future. In a recent match against Manchester United, Cody Gakpo and Darwin Nunez, who were signed in January and summer, respectively, each scored two goals before Mohamed Salah completed a record-breaking double. While it’s only one game, the fact that three Liverpool players scored two goals against United for the first time since 1908 wasn’t the most significant aspect of the match.
With Roberto Firmino announcing his departure in the summer, only Salah remains from the previous frontline that was dominant in Europe for several seasons. Nonetheless, Liverpool’s rebuild is already in progress, with Nunez performing well and making the left-sided role his own with 14 goals this season. Nunez’s transfer fee could also potentially reach a club-record £85m if all add-ons to Benfica are paid.
In 16 Conclusions on Liverpool’s 7-0 victory over Manchester United, it is noted that Cody Gakpo, who was previously a target for United, has adapted quickly to Liverpool and has scored in three of his last four starts. Gakpo is expected to take over Roberto Firmino’s central position, which could make him a crucial player in Liverpool’s new-look forward line.
“Very clinical. I think a lot of those goals were world class in my opinion,” Van Dijk said.
“The first one, I think the whole build-up towards it was outstanding. Obviously (Gakpo) cutting in to his right foot, a quality finish.
“It’s been a difficult time to come in any club, I think, in the winter for any player but he’s settling in very well. It’s a very difficult position to play.
“He learns from one of the best, I think, every day with Bobby Firmino. He has to keep going, keep the confidence, keep the belief and stick together.
“I think he will be fine for this club and I mentioned it already before but he’s a fantastic player. Darwin is causing chaos all the time with his speed, his passion and also with the quality.”
The pair almost, but not quite, stole Salah’s moment in the spotlight as the Egypt international scored his 128th and 129th Premier League goals to go past Robbie Fowler to become the club’s record scorer in the competition.
“Mo showed why he is so important for this football club definitely,” said Van Dijk.
“(He has been) very influential with everything that’s been going on positively over the last couple of years and hopefully he can keep that going.
“For him to be the all-time Premier League top scorer for Liverpool is something no one should take for granted.
“He definitely shouldn’t and I won’t. He should also not just brush it off because it’s something special.”
Liverpool is gaining momentum at a crucial point in the season, while fellow contenders Tottenham and Newcastle have been struggling with inconsistent results. In contrast, Liverpool has won four and drawn one of their last five matches. By the time Tottenham plays their next game, Liverpool could already be ahead of them in the standings if they defeat struggling Bournemouth in their upcoming match. The team’s confidence is at its highest this season, with two wins in March, which is as many as they have managed in any month of the season so far. However, despite the enjoyment of beating their arch-rivals, defender Van Dijk said that the team would not be dwelling on the result.
“We should not take these results for granted but there are many more games to play to get what we want: in this case that’s Champions League football and that’s what we focus on,” added the Netherlands captain.
“We shouldn’t just brush it off like it’s any other day. We won 7-0 in a difficult season that we’ve had. You should be able to stand still and enjoy that a little bit.
“But the focus will turn and it’s another week towards Bournemouth. I think our focus has always been one game at a time and that doesn’t change.”