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Van Dijk reflects on Paredes shove at 2022 World Cup & insists Netherlands' heartbreak will motivate him at Liverpool

5:32 PM MYT 02/01/2023
Van Dijk Argentina World Cup 2022
Virgil van Dijk admits his shove on Leandro Paredes at the 2022 World Cup was out of character, but he makes no apologies for losing his cool.
  • Defender faced Argentina in Qatar
  • Suffered penalty shootout pain
  • Now back in Premier League action

WHAT HAPPENED? The Liverpool defender found himself caught up in the heat of quarter-final battle in Qatar, with an ill-tempered last-eight encounter between Argentina and the Netherlands delivering 16 yellow cards and a sending off. Van Dijk was involved in one major flashpoint, as he pushed Paredes to the ground after seeing the Paris Saint-Germain midfielder - who is currently on loan at Juventus - fire a loose ball into the Dutch dugout, but the commanding centre-half considers that incident to have been a show of passion in a contest that went all the way to penalties.

WHAT THEY SAID: Van Dijk has said of allowing emotion to get the better of him against Argentina – who went on to claim the ultimate prize in a historic tournament: "(The shove on Paredes) was obviously something I don't normally do but it was the heat of the moment and we are all human beings, these things happen. It fuels me in any way, shape or form because I want to be successful with the Netherlands. I feel like we have a fantastic squad and new era with Ronald Koeman coming back (replacing coach Louis van Gaal) and young players coming through. Hopefully we can do something nice in the summer with the Nations League finals. That will be a nice step and it is something I really want to win, even though it's the end of the season when you are probably absolutely shattered."

THE BIGGER PICTURE: With international endeavours put to one side for now, Van Dijk has returned to domestic action with Liverpool and helped them to back-to-back Premier League victories over Aston Villa and Leicester, with the Dutchman claiming a title bid could still be on the cards at Anfield despite being 15 points off the pace. He added: "It has motivated me here (at Liverpool). We are quite some points behind Arsenal but the season could be a very crazy one, a very strange one. We have to be realistic and we're not thinking about the title at the moment. We have to focus on the game ahead of us, win games, and then we'll see."

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WHAT NEXT? Liverpool, who sit sixth in the Premier League table at present, will be back in action on Monday when taking in a trip to Brentford.