'We knew' - Liverpool captain Virgil van Dijk reflects on key factor to defeating Leeds United at Elland Road

Virgil van Dijk felt Liverpool's bravery was a key factor towards sealing a 3-0 victory against Leeds United in Sunday's Premier League clash at Elland Road.

Sunday, 12th September 2021, 8:28 pm
Updated Sunday, 12th September 2021, 8:32 pm

Jurgen Klopp's Reds left West Yorkshire with all three points via strikes from Mo Salah, Fabinho and Sadio Mane following a contest in which United's Pascal Struijk was sent off.

Struijk was handed a straight red card following a challenge on teenage midfielder Harvey Ellliott on the hour mark in which the Whites defender won the ball.

But Struijk accidentally caught Elliott on the follow-through and the Reds midfielder had to be stretchered off with a serious ankle injury.

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RELISHED IT: Liverpool's Virgil van Dijk, front, holds off Leeds United winger Raphinha in Sunday's 3-0 victory at Elland Road. Photo by Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images.

Leeds had already lost Diego Llorente to injury and played the final 30 minutes plus eight minutes of stoppage time with ten men.

Liverpool had 30 attempts at goal in the contest in which victory sent them joint top.

Asked why he believed Liverpool got the better of Leeds in front of a capacity Elland Road crowd, van Dijk told liverpoolfc.com: "I think being brave, getting the ball.

"We knew that we were going to be in one-v-one situations, so you had to be ready to take your opponent on.

"Also, you need to be ready to defend, ready to run back, especially on the counter-attack, win those second-ball fights and pick the right colour.

"It's definitely satisfying.

"Everyone knew beforehand that it was going to be a very intense, hard game with their fans behind them, pushing them forward for the full 90, 95 minutes.

"So we had to be brave, ready for the battle and embrace the atmosphere too.

"We prepared well, even in the short space of time that we had coming from internationals.

"But winning 3-0 here, keeping a clean sheet is always good to build on."

Reflecting on Elliott's injury, van Dijk said: "First and foremost, all our thoughts and prayers are going to Harvey.

"Hopefully he recovers quickly and as good as possible from it.

"Obviously we have no idea what the diagnosis is at the moment but it looked bad.

"Apart from that, it was a fantastic win here.

"It was an intense game, I enjoyed every bit (of) the atmosphere because obviously you didn't experience this for a while. So, two feelings that's there."

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Thank you Laura Collins