Virgil van Dijk: Liverpool man's tackle on Neymar in 2018 is seriously underrated

Virgil van Dijk's tackle on Neymar in 2018 was unusual, yet brilliant

Liverpool have really felt Virgil van Dijk's absence this season.

The Dutchman has missed the majority of the 2020/21 campaign after picking up a serious knee injury in the Merseyside derby versus Everton back in October of last year.

Without the defensive colossus orchestrating the team's back-line, Liverpool have looked rather average and there's a good chance they will fail to qualify for next season's Champions League as a result.

Had Van Dijk been fit, it's highly unlikely that Jurgen Klopp's Reds would have fallen as far as they have.

Why do we say that with such confidence? Because the former Southampton man is probably the best centre-back around.

When the 29-year-old is at his best, Van Dijk doesn't have a single weakness and the world's best players have tried and failed to get the better of him.

Kylian Mbappe and Erling Braut Haaland have both famously failed the 'Van Dijk test' in recent years, with footage of the Dutchman thwarting the young superstars regularly doing the rounds on social media.

Van Dijk in action

But one of the finest tackles from Liverpool's main man on a world-class player appears to have slipped under the radar of the late.

The incident in question came in 2018, when Paris Saint-Germain hosted the Reds in the group stage of the Champions League.

During the game, the French side's talisman Neymar attempted to get the better of Van Dijk in the penalty area, but he was halted by an unusual, yet magnificent tackle by the Liverpool centre-back.

Take a look for yourself in the video below.

Video

On first glance, it looks as if Van Dijk hacked down Neymar in the box.

But after watching the various replays, it's clear that the Dutchman's trailing leg made contact with the ball first, before his forward momentum left the Brazilian forward in a heap on the turf - much to the PSG man's frustration.

"Not gonna lie I still don’t know how Van Dijk pulled that tackle off," one football fan replied to a YouTube video of the tackle.

"Didn't tackle him once, but twice in the same altercation lol," a second added, while a third quipped: "Looks like a foul. But not really a foul."

It was moment of instinctive defensive brilliance from Liverpool's most important player and his return to the team cannot come soon enough for fans of the club.

(Credit: The Football Terrace)

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