The Reds and the Citizens played out an entertaining 2-2 draw at the Etihad Stadium in the league last Sunday. Kevin de Bruyne and Gabriel Jesus found the back of the net for Pep Guardiola’s side, while Diogo Jota and Sadio Mane netted for the visitors.
With just one point separating the two teams on the points table, the game was filled with interesting moments. An incident involving Liverpool‘s Van Dijk and Manchester City’s Sterling particularly stood out to Ferdinand.
Close to the 70th-minute market, Sterling went one-on-one against Van Dijk in the Reds’ penalty area. While the situation looked promising for Manchester City, nothing came of the attack as the Dutchman stood firm against the forward.
Looking back at the incident, Ferdinand insisted that Sterling decided against taking Van Dijk on out of respect for the 30-year-old. Hailing the Liverpool superstar’s aura as a defender, the Manchester United legend dubbed the moment as ‘unbelievable’. He said on his YouTube channel [via The Echo]:
“You saw when Sterling went through, Virgil van Dijk stood him up one-v-one. Out of respect, Sterling turned out and didn’t go for him. If he was playing against someone else, without the reputation, he goes at him and takes a shot. It was unbelievable.”
This is not the first time an attacker has been put off by Van Dijk’s presence this season. Lautaro Martinez appeared to be intimidated by the Dutchman when he was one-on-one against him during Inter Milan’s UEFA Champions League Round of 16 clash at Anfield.
Liverpool’s Virgil van Dijk has returned to his best this season
Virgil van Dijk missed almost the entirety of the 2020-21 season due to a long-term injury. The defender suffered a setback during the Reds’ Premier League clash with Everton at Goodison Park early on and was sidelined for the rest of the campaign.
The 30-year-old returned to action for Jurgen Klopp’s side this term and has been impressive so far. While there were doubts if he will return to his best following the ligament injury, he has re-established himself as one of the centre-backs in the world.
Van Dijk has made 41 appearances across all competitions for the Anfield outfit this season. He has scored three goals and provided one assist during the process.