What Virgil van Dijk said to Jarell Quansah after first Premier League ...

13 May 2024
Liverpool FC

Jarell Quansah scored his first Premier League goal for Liverpool - and Virgil van Dijk was right on the scene to congratulate him. There were shades of Van Dijk as the young defender rose highest above Lucas Digne and guided a looping header over Emiliano Martinez and in at the far post.

Quansah was understandably delighted, screaming in delight as he raced away to celebrate putting his team 3-1 up shortly after half-time. Van Dijk was the first teammate to wrap his arm around him, and he was heard on pitch side microphones shouting his simple verdict.

“Love it brother,” Van Dijk appeared to say as the Liverpool stars celebrated the goal. Quansah’s goal assisted by Elliott was the first time two English players aged 21 or younger have combined for a Liverpool Premier League goal since Steven Gerrard set up Michael Owen against Blackburn in November 2001, per Opta.

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It was clear the goal meant a lot to Quansah and left Van Dijk impressed. Earlier this season, the young defender responded to comparisons with his Dutch teammate and the role he’s played in his breakthrough.

“I think what he has been doing over the past five or 10 years has been unrivalled, especially in the Premier League,” he told the Liverpool FC official website in March.

“He’s had flawless seasons, he’s been a vital part of what Liverpool’s identity has been. So to play next to him is so good and I can learn so much from him.

“There’s times where he’s constructive and just says it how it is and tells me what I need to improve on, and there’s times where, especially on the pitch because the crowd’s loud, he needs to shout and make examples in different ways.

“You can’t go much wrong if you just listen to what he’s saying! He’s always in your ear, always talking, which is so helpful.”

Quansah also drew praise from manager Jürgen Klopp ahead of the game for his recent performances both in competitive matches and in training. Klopp said at his pre-match press conference: “It’s just like that we play once a week and we just look at who looks in the best moment, and Jarell is one of them. That’s how it is and we don’t play with three centre-halves or whatever, so it means we have to make a decision and Jarell is training really well and we have a lot of training sessions, he is training really well.

“That doesn’t mean Ibou [Konate] or Joey [Gomez] wouldn’t train well, but Jarell trained really well and that’s how it is and that’s why I make these kind of decisions. That’s the best situation to have, I can just sit there and look at it…

“If you have the chance to make that decision, that you can really decide on this high level who is a little bit better and in a little better moment, then you do it. That’s what you do. There is no rotation necessary because then the others have to play anyway, or you have to mix it up anyway, but that’s not necessary now.

“That’s why he played [and] yes, he pushed himself in a really, really good situation, that’s true. And I think the [Tottenham] game justified that decision. He was really good in that game as well… and again, a very, very talented player. Really, really good.”

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