Liverpool captain Virgil van Dijk insists he was not being arrogant in dismissing Manchester United’s overly defensive display at Anfield.
The Dutchman provoked a response from former United midfielder Roy Keane when he said only one team played to win.
Keane said the comments were arrogant and disrespectful, adding: “He needs a reminder himself; he’s playing for a club that have won the title once in 30-odd years.”
"That's arrogance." "It's not arrogance!"
Roy Keane reacting to Virgil van Dijk's interview after Liverpool 0-0 Manchester United pic.twitter.com/1XZpKphrzK
— Sky Sports Premier League (@SkySportsPL) December 17, 2023
Van Dijk insisted there was honesty but no arrogance in his words on a frustrating afternoon where Liverpool had 34 shots but failed to score for the first time since April.
“I like Roy Keane, if he said that then it’s fine,” he said.
“He is Man United throughout and I understand he could react like that but I felt what I said and there is absolutely no arrogance in that.
“Everyone who watched the game probably felt the same. We move on. We had the opportunity and we couldn’t score and that’s the frustrating part.”
For the first time since April Jurgen Klopp’s side failed to score, ending a club record-equalling run of 34 successive matches, and the 34 shots they attempted was their most on record (since 2003-04) without scoring.
Striker Darwin Nunez has not found the net in 10 matches, Mohamed Salah, who scored 10 in 12 league games before November’s international break, has just one in the last five, Luis Diaz has scored once in the league since mid-August while Cody Gakpo’s two league goals were both in September.
December is the worst time to lose your form with the number of fixtures during the month and Van Dijk admits the players may have been trying just too hard against their arch-rivals.
“Maybe (we were) trying to force it a little bit at times and we could have made a better decision but it was hard to break the low block down,” he added.
“You push, you push, you push and try to do everything in your power but it was one of those days we couldn’t find the right decision to score a goal.
“At times – I won’t say every time – we forced it too much to find a solution which wasn’t there but that’s football.”
There is no time to dwell on the disappointing result which cost them top spot as West Ham are the midweek visitors for the quarter-finals of the Carabao Cup, a competition Liverpool won in 2022.
“We move on and have to learn from a lot of moments – and we will – and focus on Wednesday,” said Van Dijk.
“Let’s go for it. It’s the first trophy that could be in reach and it will be a very tough game as West Ham are also in a good moment with good players.”