How many times have they played together, Alisson and Virgil van Dijk? How many times have they rescued Liverpool? How many opposing attacks have they subdued? How many chances have they thwarted in their reign as one of the best defensive partnerships in the Premier League?
The answer on all counts is too many to mention. And yet at The Emirates, with their match with Arsenal poised at 1-1 and the title race heating up and Manchester City watching and hoping for Liverpool to slip, the game turned on a defensive mix-up between the goalkeeper and the skipper.
Arsenal had already let Liverpool back into the game at the end of the first half with a calamity caper of their own but when Liverpool emulated it midway through the second half, the two giants of the club colliding with each other and presenting Gabriel Martinelli with an open goal, the league leaders could not find a way back into the game.
Arsenal consolidated their lead with a late goal from Leandro Trossard, that deflected off Van Dijk and squeezed through Alisson’s legs, to seal a 3-1 win for Mikel Arteta’s team and condemn Liverpool to their first defeat in the league since they lost at Spurs on Saturday September 30th.
Liverpool, who were reduced to 10 men when Ibrahima Konate was sent off for a second yellow card late on, were the victims of a shocking error by the VAR officials that day but in this defeat against Arsenal, they were the authors of their own downfall.