(Reuters) – Virgil van Dijk made a dream start to his Anfield career, scoring the winning goal on his debut for Liverpool, as they beat city rivals Everton 2-1 in a pulsating FA Cup third round tie on Friday.
The Dutchman, signed last week from Southampton for a reported fee of 75 million pounds ($101.7 million), rose inside the area to head home an Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain corner in front of the Kop end in the 84th minute of what had been an enthralling Merseyside derby.
“What a night. It was thoroughly deserved, it felt amazing to be out there, the goal is very special for me and my family,” said Van Dijk.
“Playing at Anfield for Liverpool is a dream for every player. To score a goal is even more special.”
Liverpool looked to have been frustrated after Gylfi Sigurdsson brought Everton level in the 67th minute after a brilliant counter-attack from Sam Allardyce’s side.
That looked to have produced a repeat of the Premier League clash between the pair in December when Everton grabbed a 1-1 draw despite their rivals having had many more chances.
But Van Dijk, bought to shore up Liverpool’s weakest link, the centre of their defence, proved his value at the other end of the field with his strength and aerial power delivering the killer blow.