There isn’t too much that appears to fluster Liverpool’s commanding centre-back, Virgil van Dijk, but one particular line of questioning in an interview saw him storm off in anger.
The Dutchman had just come off of the pitch after the Reds had played Red Bull Salzburg, a game in which Erling Halaand was almost unplayable.
Son of former Manchester City player, Alf Inge Halaand, Erling was beginning to make a real name for himself with his Champions League performances, but, perhaps because he was unhappy with his own performance on the night, van Dijk clearly wasn’t in the mood to discuss Halaand’s attributes.
“The first time I saw him [Haaland] live was at Anfield when he came on and I was amazed that this young kid created so much space,” Jan Aage Fjortoft told Blood Red Podcast and cited by the Daily Mirror.
“He scored one goal but he could have had three or four – he was unbelievable. I was amazed how he created space and how I define that is how his runs are wise and experienced.
“After the game, I interviewed Van Dijk, who I always like to interview because he is a gentleman, and I said ‘I have to ask you about the Norwegian, Erling Haland’.
“And he just said: ‘Well, we won the game’. So I said ‘Yes, but what do you think about him?’. “Van Dijk said: ‘I didn’t see a lot of him’ and he was a bit angry because there was some mistakes done.
“And I said ‘It’s a good sign for a striker when a defender says he didn’t see him!’ – and then he just went away, Van Dijk.”
Given that Borussia Dortmund were able to acquire him for a relative pittance last summer, it begs the question as to why Liverpool, having seen Halaand up close, weren’t in the picture when it came to potentially acquiring the 19-year-old.
The Reds do have one of the most formidable front lines in world football, but when a talent such is Halaand is available for €22.5m plus €10m in agents fees per The Guardian, the club have to be in the market.
Their insouciance at the point when he signed for Borussia Dortmund is odd to say the least, particularly when you consider he would cost well in excess of that now, even taking into account the financial hit clubs will have taken because of the coronavirus pandemic.