Liverpool star Van Dijk’s dressing room actions speak volumes after red card

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Liverpool captain Virgil van Dijk was sent off in the first half in a contentious moment shortly after his side went 1-0 down to Newcastle on Sunday, before a late Darwin Nunez brace lifted the 10-men to a dramatic and emotional comeback victory that was savoured by the travelling party at St James’ Park, as Van Dijk’s reactions were captured on video.

The Netherlands defender was visibly frustrated after being shown a red card, moments after Trent Alexander-Arnold flirted with a dismissal for two bookings. He took his time leaving the pitch and continued to argue with referee John Brooks, appearing to swear in the official’s face before being pushed down the tunnel by Jurgen Klopp to prevent his skipper from being handed a more severe punishment.

However, Van Dijk was able to put his frustrations aside by the full-time whistle as he was clearly proud of his team-mates – embracing every single one of them as they walked down the tunnel and into the dressing room.

He gave matchwinner Nunez a big hug and shouted “Let’s go” following the striker’s brace, as he acted like a true captain and did not dwell on the red card, but rather celebrated the squad’s accomplishment instead.

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He also made sure to take a moment for the club’s newest signing Wataru Endo on his debut, though Luis Diaz did not seem too impressed after Van Dijk’s red card forced the winger into an early substitution as he was shortly replaced by Joe Gomez in the first half, but shook his skipper’s hand nonetheless.

But the Liverpool stars were clearly pleased to see their captain in such high spirits, proving that he is leadership material by focusing on the team as opposed to his own performance – which will please Klopp further as Van Dijk was chosen to replace Jordan Henderson and James Milner following their summer exits.

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“We had to make the decision and I had to think about it,” Klopp explained earlier this month. “But with Virg it’s really now not difficult because I think he’s an absolutely natural follower of a really big personality with Hendo, and we had to replace James Milner as well.

“But Virg has everything to wish for to be a captain of a football club. He wants to be a leader, he is a leader. He has to step up, like all of us have to step up because we were used to things how they always were and now we have to create something new – a new structure, a new culture – and that’s really exciting.

“He will play a massive role in that – he has to. With the captaincy now, I’m pretty sure in the moment he feels the pride, he feels the honour. The busy stuff of it, the work behind it, he will feel from now on and that’s good. We will do that all together, we all will help him. But I think it was the absolute logical decision.”

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