Virgil van Dijk reveals the real reason for his mistake against Fulham

Liverpool defender Virgil van Dijk has joked that he only made a mistake against Fulham on Sunday because he wanted to boost the confidence of international team-mate Ryan Babel.

A mix-up between Van Dijk and Alisson gifted Fulham an equaliser at Craven Cottage, before James Milner’s penalty restored Liverpool’s lead and sent them back to the top of the Premier League table.

Van Dijk’s weak header allowed Babel to capitalise against his former club, the Dutchman tapping home after Alisson failed to collect the loose ball.

But the centre-back told Voetbal International that the error was all part of a bigger plan.

“Indeed, I tried,” Van Dijk laughed when asked whether he had his country in mind at the time.

“No, mistakes happen in football. [To] me too, but hopefully not too often anymore. If defenders or keepers make a mistake, it is immediately punished. That is the risk of the profession.”

Milner’s spot-kick gave Liverpool a 2-1 victory over struggling Fulham, moving them two points clear of Manchester City in first place – although Pep Guardiola’s men have a game in hand.

Van Dijk will now turn his attention towards the Netherlands’ Euro 2020 qualifiers against Belarus and Germany.

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