EPL

Liverpool the 'perfect game' for Man Utd to turn things around, warns Van Dijk

By Sports Desk August 18, 2022

Facing Liverpool at Old Trafford is the "perfect game" for Manchester United to kick-start their season, Virgil van Dijk has warned.

United followed up a 2-1 home loss against Brighton and Hove Albion in their opening Premier League game of the campaign with a heavy 4-0 defeat at Brentford last weekend.

The Red Devils find themselves bottom for the first time since August 1992, which is the only previous occasion they lost their opening two games in the competition.

Erik ten Hag is the first United manager to lose his opening two games in charge since John Chapman in 1921 and the Dutchman's task does not get any easier.

United face fierce rivals Liverpool on Monday, when Van Dijk expects the home side to be extra motivated to get off the mark in front of their own fans.

"It's massive, but it's not about making a statement. We want to win and do everything that's possible to win there," Van Dijk said. 

"This year they've had a difficult start and we've not had the best start that we wanted either, so it will be interesting. 

"Obviously they're not in the best situation confidence-wise probably, but it's the perfect game to turn it around for them."

Liverpool finished one point behind champions Manchester City last season, but they have started the 2022-23 campaign with draws against Fulham and Crystal Palace.

That makes Monday's encounter the first time that United and Liverpool have been winless in the Premier League heading into this fixture.

Jurgen Klopp's side have won their past two league games at Old Trafford, including a 5-0 thumping last season, and are looking to make it three in a row for the first time.

"Over the years it’s proven tough for us to win there, though last year was a great result, we can't deny it," Van Dijk said.

"This week we showed a lot of good spirit and fight in training, and we've got to bring that to the game on Monday."

Related items

  • Van Dijk: Liverpool have 'no chance' in title race after derby defeat Van Dijk: Liverpool have 'no chance' in title race after derby defeat

    Virgil van Dijk conceded Liverpool might be out of the Premier League title race after they suffered a surprise 2-0 defeat to Everton in Wednesday's Merseyside derby.

    Jarrad Branthwaite and Dominic Calvert-Lewin scored in either half to give the Toffees their first win over Liverpool at Goodison Park since 2010.

    Liverpool struggled to find a way through the Toffees' defence despite dominating for long periods, and the Reds' captain says they will not outlast Arsenal and Manchester City without major improvements.  

    Speaking to Sky Sports, Van Dijk said: "If we play like today, then we have no chance to consider ourselves in the title race. 

    "We have to just focus on the next game and that will be a tough one anyway, so we will see.

    "We're very disappointed, in so many ways. I think everyone has to look at their own performances. Did they really give everything, and do they really want to win the league?

    "We're still fighting and there are still games after tonight, but if we play like we did overall in the game today – not winning challenges and giving the referee a chance to give free-kicks like he did many times, then you have no chance to win the title."

  • Dyche challenges Everton to 'go and do it again' after crucial derby victory Dyche challenges Everton to 'go and do it again' after crucial derby victory

    Sean Dyche challenged his Everton players to "go and do it again" after his team defeated Liverpool at Goodison Park in the Merseyside derby.

    Everton won 2-0 on Wednesday, clinching a home victory over their local rivals for the first time since 2010 thanks to goals from Jarrad Branthwaite and Dominic Calvert-Lewin.

    While it also dented Liverpool's title hopes, the victory presented a huge step forward in Everton's hopes of staying up.

    They are now eight points clear of the relegation zone, with four games left to play, and the possibility of points to come back should they successfully appeal the second of their points deductions for financial breaches.

    Dyche, though, insisted the job is not done as he looks towards another big game on Saturday, when Brentford visit Goodison Park.

    "Very pleased with the reaction," Dyche told Sky Sports.

    "This was a different game with the organisation and the belief in the organisation. They're a good side, we know that. The commitment from us had to be there. The energy of the side and also the key moments.

    "We spoke about the desire and the energy of the team and the physical side of the game. The lads did it on Sunday and they'll have to do it again. That's the challenge.

    "We stayed focused tonight and I asked if they could stay with us and they did. Sunday was massive and now it was a massively important derby game. For people like Seamus Coleman, he wears his heart on his sleeve and he's so happy.

    "We should be on 41 points and the story's different. Three clean sheets in three home games. The challenge for the players is to go and do it again."

    Calvert-Lewin led the line brilliantly, converting Everton's second with a towering header early in the second half. He has scored three goals in his last four Premier League games for the Toffees, as many as in his previous 28 appearances in the competition.

    "I thought [Calvert-Lewin] was outstanding tonight," Dyche said.

    "We've been trying to get him back to where he needs to be and I thought he was outstanding. He gets a goal. He tried to get it over the line and I love that. The second one is a great header. No, I thought he was outstanding tonight.

    "Jordan Pickford made some big saves in the first half. It's rare you stop these sides having chances so you need moments yourself. It's hard to pick out one or two [players]."

  • Man Utd matchwinner Fernandes: Criticism part of the job Man Utd matchwinner Fernandes: Criticism part of the job

    Bruno Fernandes said Manchester United's players cannot afford to get annoyed by outside criticism, after he scored twice to fire the Red Devils to a much-needed win over Sheffield United.

    Erik ten Hag's team were roundly criticised for their performance in Sunday's FA Cup semi-final against Coventry City, as they surrendered a 3-0 lead to draw 3-3 before inching through in a penalty shoot-out.

    They had also gone four Premier League games without a win (three draws, one defeat) prior to Wednesday's meeting with the rock-bottom Blades, with their hopes of Champions League football all-but over.

    They twice trailed as Sheffield United threatened a huge upset, but Fernandes scored twice and supplied an assist as they fought back to claim a 4-2 win.

    Asked whether the noise around Sunday's semi-final win had affected the mood at Old Trafford, Fernandes told Sky Sports: "That's part of the job. 

    "You can be in a run of games where you win eight or nine in a row, and when you lose one you know you'll be criticised. 

    "Being at Manchester United demands winning every game, so it's part of the job. If there is anyone in the dressing room still not used to that, they will get used to it!

    "Being a Manchester United player demands being ready to receive as much criticism as praise. We receive praise when we do good things so we can't be annoyed by the criticism.

    "When people want to do that, they might have a point. We can think in a different way, but we have to take it in the same way as we take the credit they give us."

    Ten Hag's team did look disjointed for long periods on Wednesday, though, and they have now conceded 50 Premier League goals this season.

    The Red Devils have now shipped a half-century of goals in two of their last three Premier League campaigns, having done so just once in their previous 29.

    Ten Hag, though, was content with most aspects of their performance, saying: "It was a good game for the crowd, they saw four goals and many chances that we created.

    "I think we played quite well, we created many more chances, so there's many positives. But also negatives. Conceding two goals from giveaways, that's unacceptable.

    "We want to play dynamic, attacking football. That is what we want to see. Since the winter we have created lots of chances and also scored a lot of those chances."

© 2023 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.