Cody Gakpo nets lucky goal as Virgil van Dijk only half rested – “I wanted to play”

After sealing their place for next summers European Championship last time out, reports suggested Van Dijk may have been rested against Gibraltar on Tuesday.

But upon the release of Ronald Koemans team sheet, Van Dijks name was in the starting lineup, and Gakpo was among the substitutes.

Thankfully, with Calvin Stengs, Mats Wieffer and Teun Koopmeiners all on the scoresheet in the first half, the Netherlands could go on without their defensive linchpin in the second 45.

His substitution at half-time came after 52 touches, 14 passes into the final third, four accurate long balls (100 percent) and two interceptions.

It may only be 45 minutes of rest, but Van Dijk is imperative to Liverpool and any opportunity to take him out of harms way is a bonus, especially with Man City on the horizon.

For fans, it would have been even better to see Koeman keep Van Dijk out of the match entirely but that was never an option for the skipper, even with Saturdays game in mind.

Yeah but come on, everyone wants to play for their country, Van Dijk said post match, as relayed by X user @TheEuropeanLad, I played every single qualifier and I wanted to play this one too.

Cody Gakpo scores ??

The @LFC forward makes it six as his cross deceives the Gibraltarian ‘keeper ?#EURO2024 pic.twitter.com/5FNyLnrJle

Viaplay Sports UK (@ViaplaySportsUK) November 21, 2023