Just football

Virgil van Dijk scores 84’ winner on debut in 2-1 FA Cup win over Everton

Virgil van Dijk scored the winner on his Liverpool debut as the Reds defeated city rivals Everton 2-1 to reach the fourth round of the FA Cup on Friday night.

Van Dijk, who this month became the world’s most expensive defender, headed in the winner six minutes from time at Anfield.

After a cagey start, the home support burst into life after 34 minutes when young defender Mason Holgate hacked down Adam Lallana just inside the 18-yard box. James Milner then capably converted the ensuing spot kick to put the hosts’ noses in front.

Minutes later, Firmino responded angrily to a blatant push by Holgate that sent him tumbling into the stands near the sideline — the Brazilian running to confront the Everton man before being separated by the referee.

Liverpool attacked in waves after the break, with Lallana and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain causing early danger. But the visitors grabbed the equaliser against the run of play in the 67th minute.

Gylfi Sigurdsson coolly slotted home Phil Jagielka’s rolled back cross at the top of the box to cap off a sweeping counter-attack moments after a Liverpool corner kick.

But Van Dijk intervened just six minutes from time, when he rose highest to meet an Oxlade-Chamberlain corner kick and beat a helpless Jordan Pickford in the Everton goal.

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