‘You have to admit’: Virgil van Dijk now makes claim about Chelsea after defeating them in the FA Cup final

Virgil van Dijk has praised Chelsea for making the FA Cup final a real contest for Liverpool.

As quoted by the club media, Van Dijk credited the part Thomas Tuchel’s men played in such an entertaining encounter at Wembley on the weekend.

Chelsea praised by Van Dijk for FA Cup final contribution

The Dutch defender came up against the Blues for the fourth time this season last Saturday, with the previous meeting also arriving at the national team’s stadium.

Unlike the other three matches, he couldn’t finish the most recent fixture, forced off through injury just before the start of extra time.

Liverpool fans must’ve been fearing for the worst when Van Dijk didn’t come out for the additional period, having already lost Mohammed Salah in the first half.

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With Fabinho also absent, the spine of Jurgen Klopp’s side looked slightly weaker.

However, the Reds managed to withstand Chelsea’s siege even without their key centre-back and defensive midfielder.

Tuchel’s team had chances to take the lead with Van Dijk on the pitch, yet failed to convert any of their openings.

“They are a fantastic side Chelsea, and you have to admit that, we have to admit that,” said the Netherlands international.

“They have quality players all over the pitch, so we have to be ready to suffer and I think we did that.

“Obviously they created some dangerous moments and we had to defend that.

“It’s something that we expected and if we score one it could be a different game, and the same if they score one as well, that’s how football works. “

The Blues rue their finishing

Christian Pulisic missed the target on several occasions, whilst Marcos Alonso kept Alisson on his toes with an effort from close range.

Edouard Mendy’s goal also led a charmed life.

Both of his posts were rattled at some stage, but only after he made a smart stop to deny Luis Diaz.

Photo by John Powell/Liverpool FC via Getty Images

Diaz looked the most likely to open the scoring, giving Trevoh Chalobah a difficult afternoon down Liverpool’s left.

Chelsea must have breathed a huge sigh of relief when Diaz was removed with 12-minutes of the tie remaining.

However, the reprieve only lasted so long.

Having held each other at arm’s length for two hours, the two sides required penalties to decide the final.

Cesar Azpilicueta hit the post to hand Liverpool an early advantage, one that was levelled by Mendy’s save on Sadio Mane.

Sudden death died just four efforts in thanks to Alisson denying Mason Mount, allowing Konstantinos Tsimikas the honour of converting the match-winning kick.

Photo by Charlotte Wilson/Offside/Offside via Getty Images

Klopp got his hands on trophy number two for the campaign, whilst Tuchel licked the wounds of another term without domestic silverware.

Let’s hope 2022/23 brings more success on British soil for the Blues!

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Nathaniel is a football journalist who graduated from the University of Derby. He has worked at Burton Albion as part of their media team for two years. Nathaniel produces regular articles for the club’s official website and match-day programme. He covered the 2018 U20 Women’s World Cup in Brittany and has reported from grounds ranging from non-league up to the Premier League.