Virgil van Dijk picks Liverpool teammate to take last-minute penalty if his life depended on it

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Liverpool superstar Virgil van Dijk has admitted that he would trust his teammate James Milner to take a last-minute penalty if the Dutchman’s life depended on it.

Milner was signed as a free agent from Manchester City in the summer of 2015. Since then, the Englishman has been a wonderful servant to the club, playing in a multitude of positions with ease.

Now 36, Milner is no longer manager Jurgen Klopp’s go-to man when picking the line-up. He has featured in 15 games for the club across competitions this season but only five of them have seen him named in the starting XI.

Apart from his versatility, Milner’s set-piece ability, especially from 12 yards out, is something that has made him a huge asset for the Reds. He has missed just two of the 21 penalties he has taken for Liverpool, excluding penalty shoot-outs.

However, Mohamed Salah has since usurped him in the spot-kick-taking pecking order. Milner’s last penalty in regulation time was in a 4-0 league win against Leicester City in December of 2019.

However, the Englishman showed he still has composure when it comes to penalties. Milner scored his spot-kicks in Liverpool’s FA Cup and EFL Cup finals last season during the two penalty shootout wins against Chelsea at Wembley.

In an interview for the Overlap YouTube channel, Gary Neville asked Van Dijk who he would nominate to take a last-minute penalty kick if his life was on the line. The Netherlands international instantly replied:

“James Milner.”
Van Dijk highlighted the former Aston Villa and Newcastle United’s achievements and longevity. He added:

“What he achieved already on this age, you know… I hope that I would be able to do all this stuff when I’m his age.”
Virgil van Dijk will want to help Liverpool turn around their poor start to the season
Van Dijk hasn’t been in the best of form for Liverpool. He gave away a penalty against Fulham in a 2-2 draw on August 6 and has, at times, looked uncharacteristically jaded this campaign.

However, he remains a world-class defender, arguably the best in the world in his position. The Dutchman has often been a captain without the armband for the Merseysiders on the pitch.

If the Reds are to salvage this season, the Netherlands international will have a big role to play in that. There’s not a lot he can do if Liverpool’s aged and bland midfield continues to disappoint on both ends of the pitch.

Van Dijk, however, can lead from the front and not let standards drop on the pitch, especially by those around him in defense. The Reds are languishing in seventh after amassing just 16 points from 11 league games.

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