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Football

Virgil van Dijk went 'alpha mode' and absolutely bodied Malik Tillman in Liverpool's win over Rangers

Daniel Marland

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Virgil van Dijk went 'alpha mode' and absolutely bodied Malik Tillman in Liverpool's win over Rangers

Virgil van Dijk proved he's still one of the strongest centre-backs in world football during Liverpool's 2-0 victory over Rangers - and it came at the expense of Malik Tillman.

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The Reds sealed back-to-back Champions League wins on Tuesday evening thanks to goals from Trent Alexander-Arnold and Mohamed Salah.

Jurgen Klopp's side dominated throughout, with Rangers only managing two shots on target against a Liverpool defence that's leaked goals this season.

Van Dijk used to play for Rangers' bitter rivals, Celtic, and was looking for a chance to get stuck in. He had it within the first few minutes at the expense of Rangers winger Tillman.

Both players challenged for a ball van Dijk effortlessly swept up the pitch. Tillman then got close to the Netherlands international, who responded with a shove that sent the 20-year-old to the ground.

The definition of letting the attacker know you're there early doors.

Footage of the exchange quickly went viral on social media, which supporters loved.

One person said: "Still man-handling them after all these years."

Another commented: "You want aggression, you've got aggression."

A third tweeted: "Need more of this from Virgil."

While someone put: "Looked so motivated last night."

Van Dijk takes the ball away from Tillman. (Image Credit: Alamy)
Van Dijk takes the ball away from Tillman. (Image Credit: Alamy)

Liverpool took the lead seven minutes in thanks to Alexander-Arnold's free-kick, his second goal of the campaign.

The full-back has been criticised for his performances this term but looked back to his best. He even received a standing ovation from the home crowd after being replaced by Joe Gomez in added time.

Mohamed Salah grabbed a second from the penalty spot eight minutes into the second half to seal all three points.

Klopp tweaked Liverpool's formation from their usual 4-3-3 to a 4-4-2, dropping Fabinho to the bench and going with an attacking four of Luis Diaz, Diogo Jota, Darwin Nunez and Salah.

The German coach admitted at full-time the change was made due to his own team's form, rather than in response to any potential Rangers threat.

Liverpool players after their second goal of the game. (Image Credit: Alamy)
Liverpool players after their second goal of the game. (Image Credit: Alamy)

He explained: "It (The tactical change) was actually nothing to do with the game. It had a little bit to do with the game but not too much. It was for us.

"We wanted to defend differently to what we usually do. If you see us for a few years now, if somebody was criticising us for defending it was more people talking about the high line.

"But then people then created, when we were in a defensive pressing situation, they created a lot of chances. That was rare but happened more. So that’s why we set up slightly differently, closed different gaps."

Featured Image Credit: BT Sport

Topics: Liverpool, Virgil Van Dijk, Rangers, Champions League

Daniel Marland
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