It wasn’t straight forward, but Liverpool managed to secure their passage into the Champions League semi-finals on Tuesday night after defeating Manchester City 2-1 at the Etihad Stadium.
Jurgen Klopp’s men travelled to Manchester as overwhelming favourites to progress, thanks to their 3-0 win at Anfield a week prior.
But they got off to the worst possible start as Gabriel Jesus netted for the hosts just two minutes into the game.
And it could have got even worse for the away side.
Bernardo Silva saw a long-range strike cannon back off the post later in the first half, whereas the Citizens also had the ball in the back of the net through Leroy Sane, but the goal was controversially ruled out for offside.
But Liverpool battled back in the second half and effectively sealed the victory when Mohamed Salah scored 10 minutes after the restart.
With Pep Guardiola’s side pushing forward in numbers to try and get back in the game, Liverpool were given more freedom in attacking areas, and they made sure they would be in the hat for the semi-final draw when Roberto Firmino struck home 13 minutes from time.
STEVEN GERRARD WAS IMPRESSED WITH VAN DIJK
Liverpool’s defence will emerge from the game with a lot of credit.
Virgil van Dijk has been immense for Liverpool since joining in January, and he was at his best again on Tuesday night.
Steven Gerrard has evidently been impressed with him in his short time in Merseyside, and he sung his praises again after the game on BT Sport.
“I think this Liverpool team with the arrival of Van Dijk have found a big piece of the jigsaw,” Gerrard explained.
“They’ve always looked dangerous under Jurgen since the moment he came through the door, they’ve always looked threatening. They’ve always taken the game to opposition teams.
“But everyone’s been criticising them at the back.
“The arrival of Van Dijk has had such a big lift on everyone else around him.
“You could see him controlling the back four today, organising everyone. He’s lifted Lovren, he’s helping the two full-backs out immensely and he’s even helping the goalkeeper.
“The piece of that jigsaw is massive.”
WATCH GERRARD SPEAK ABOUT VAN DIJK BELOW (FROM 1:30 ONWARDS)
Brilliant scenes after the final whistle between Liverpool players and fans… 👏
Who is Jurgen Klopp smiling and waving at in the stands? 😂 pic.twitter.com/FgTPAfxvDk
— Football on BT Sport (@btsportfootball) April 10, 2018
A lot was said when Liverpool decided to smash the transfer record for a defender after shelling out £75 million for the services of Van Dijk.
Many thought that the Reds paid over the odds.
But his influence since signing has been plain to see.
Liverpool were once considered to have a very questionable defence. That has completely changed since the Dutch international’s arrival.
In the past 11 games, Liverpool have won eight times, whilst keeping six clean sheets and only letting in seven goals.
As Gerrard mentioned, Liverpool’s attack has been world-class for some time.
It seems that they are finally getting a solid defence together as well. A massive reason for that is undoubtedly because of Van Dijk’s arrival.