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        Van Dijk nets twice as rock solid Liverpool beat Watford

        Double Dutch

        2019/02/28 10:11
        By Stephen Gillett

        Liverpool emphatically beat Watford last night to stay top of the Premier League. 

        Two goals apiece from Sadio Mané and Virgil van Dijk, along with a strike from Divock Origi, did the damage against the Hornets and kept Liverpool one point ahead of Manchester City, who won 1-0 v West Ham

        That's now four consecutive clean sheets in all competitions for the Reds, who face crosstown rivals Everton in the Merseyside derby this Sunday

        The likes of Mané, Mo Salah and Roberto Firmino rightly pick up a lot of plaudits, but Liverpool's tilt at the title this season has critically seen them address their defensive frailties. Reds fans will have painful memories of losing out to City in their 2013/14 campaign under Brendan Rodgers - when Liverpool scored 101 goals, but also shipped 50 at the other end (more than any other top five side).

        Current boss Jurgen Klopp's decisions to invest in Van Dijk in January 2018, and keeper Alisson last summer, are now paying dividends and turning an area once highlighted as a weakness into a real strength.

        His two goals last night underline his ability at the other end, but van Dijk has been central to the Reds' defensive success. Last night's clean sheet against Watford was their 16th in the Premier League this term, and no top flight team has conceded fewer goals (15) this season.

        Firepower + defensive resolve = the stuff champions are made of. With 10 Premier League games remaining, it will be fascinating to see if Liverpool can maintain their current form and win their first title since 1989/90



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