Virgil van Dijk says he will take the responsibility and criticism ‘as a man’ after his error led to Alexandre Lacazette’s equaliser in Liverpool’s 2-1 defeat at Arsenal.
Sadio Mane put Liverpool ahead after 20 minutes. But things took a turn for the worse when Van Dijk made a huge mistake 12 minutes later, which led to Lacazette scoring an equaliser.
And on the stroke of half-time, Reiss Nelson scored his first Premier League goal to put Arsenal ahead.
No goals followed in the second half, meaning Liverpool were beaten or the third time in the league this season. They can no longer reach Manchester City’s record points tally.
Speaking to Sky Sports after the final whistle, Van Dijk said: “The goals we gave them as a present.
“I think until their first goal it was totally us, we dominated, put pressure on them. We gave them two goals and obviously then it’s difficult to come back.
“We created some opportunities and obviously they tried to break on us at times. But obviously if you give the goals away like we did today, including myself, then we get what we deserve.
“If you look at the goals, that shouldn’t happen. But until them there was nothing wrong.
“We played very well, pressed them, scored a fantastic goal. Moments of concentration… it happens in football sometimes and you have to deal with it. Today unfortunately we had to deal with it twice.”
No complacency just bad mistakes
Van Dijk also dismissed suggestions that Liverpool had become complacent, after they were confirmed as champions last month.
“It’s so easy to say that. It’s so easy to blame that as well, I think,” he added.
“If you watch the game, then you can see until I made the mistake there was nothing wrong. We played well.
“I had a feeling we could win here comfortably at one point. But obviously if you give them the goals then we see what happens.
“Unfortunately I made a mistake, I take the blame for it of course. I’ll take it as a man and move on.”
“We’ll try to win the last two games and get a well-deserved break.
“But we don’t need to forget that we’ve had a fantastic season already.
“Being champions of the Premier League is a dream come true. And obviously tonight was disappointing but I’ll go home and it will be fine.
“That’s the life of a footballer sometimes: you win and be a hero and sometimes you can be the villain in certain cases.”