Virgil van Dijk’s incredible 65-game streak for Liverpool ended in Community Shield defeat
After 65 matches Virgil van Dijk has finally been successfully dribbled past, with Gabriel Jesus rounding the Dutchman in Man City’s Community Shield triumph over Liverpool.
The imperious centre-back went the entire Premier League 2018/19 season without being dribbled past as well as the Champions League, but it has taken just one game of the new campaign for that incredible streak to come to an end.
Van Dijk played a starring role as the Reds lost 5-4 in a penalty shootout to Pep Guardiola’s after drawing 1-1 at Wembley on Sunday, with the Citizens scooping successive Community Shield titles as a result.
City had established an early grip on the match, breaking the deadlock on the 12 minute mark courtesy of Raheem Sterling, before Van Dijk set up substitute Joel Matip for the equaliser with a little over 10 minutes left to play.
Regulation time failed to separate last season’s standout sides in the Premier League, and so the annual competition was ultimately decided via a sudden death shootout, which saw City seal the spotlight.
Van Dijk himself impressed on the hallowed Wembley turf, recovering from some initial teething problems alongside Joe Gomez as the duo looked to establish a high-line against City’s rampant attack, with the latter enjoying the greater success in the opening 45 minutes.
However, the Netherlands international stood strong after the restart, and nearly bagged the equalising goal himself after expertly manoeuvring his body to unleash a timely strike which cannoned off the bar and onto the goal-line.
Virgil van Dijk was not successfully dribbled past in either the Premier League or Champions League in 2018-19.
Gabriel Jesus successfully dribbled past him in the first game of the 2019-20 season. #CommunityShield pic.twitter.com/Xa1TMzyutK
— Squawka Football (@Squawka) August 4, 2019
His moment would come moments later after he teed up centre-back partner Matip for the decisive goal which drew the Anfield club back on level terms, though Georginio Wijnaldum would ultimately go on to miss in the shootout to hand City the trophy.
And so, the only blemish on an otherwise supreme performance from Van Dijk was Jesus’ successful dribble against him, with the Brazilian becoming the first player to complete a competitive bypass on him since Newcastle United’s Mikel Merino did so in March 2018.
The ex-Celtic and Southampton defender was one of the standout players last campaign as the Merseyside club came within one point of winning a first ever Premier League title, while also claiming a sixth European crown.
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His talismanic exploits at the back yielded the best defensive record in the league and saw the 28-year-old take home the PFA Players’ Player of the Year award, becoming only the fourth Liverpool player to scoop the coveted accolade in Premier League history.
Meanwhile, Sterling netted his first goal against his former club since relocating to the Etihad in 2015, having taken the England international 11 attempts to finally breach the Liverpool net.