Liverpool centre-back Virgil van Dijk was having none of Chelsea keeper Kepa Arrizabalaga’s mind games in the penalty shootout last night.
Kepa, who was brought on specifically for the shootout, decided to stand on the right side of the goal when van Dijk stepped up to take his spot-kick. The Dutchman, unruffled by the unorthodox position, duly smashed it in close to where Kepa was standing.
Supporters on Twitter were loving van Dijk’s composure whilst, at the same time, ridiculing Kepa’s antics:
This had to be the best penalty. Even Chelsea fans got shocked. Playing the ball in the exact spot where the GK is…not on the floor but standing, that’s some guts. I would watch this over and again.
— IamEls (@Manuel_Emmy6) February 28, 2022
I guess to offset VVD’s perception of center? Thats a bit much lol
— unable to find source output (@AVeryLoudNoise) February 28, 2022
Kepa was so far to the right! Would have been safer just to slot it in the top left!
— Mark (@_MarkL33) February 27, 2022
This pen was golden. It felt like he wanted to hit Kepa hard with the ball and score at the same time. He gave the stare after as well. Cool as you like, Van Dijk. Fabinho’s penalty was class too, our players are confident and I like that.
— adetoyinbo adebakin (@lankybrosphotos) February 28, 2022
Man was doing fifa stances 😭😭
— Evan 🇺🇦 (@Evnwhn) February 27, 2022
Love it when a goalkeeper’s mind games don’t work out. Every Pen, Kepa delayed going on his line.
— MaltaRed77 (@MaltaRed77) February 27, 2022
I’m completely convinced that Kepa was ultimately the Liverpool super sub🤷🏾♂️
— 7waz! (@7wenkosi) February 28, 2022
I think it’s the best penalty I’ve ever seen
— Sam (@SamInStockwell) February 28, 2022
He’s Big Virg for a reason 😂🤷♂️
— Marius (@Mausic95) February 28, 2022
The decision to send on Kepa backfired for Chelsea as he failed to save one of the Reds’ eleven penalties, before losing the final by skying his own spot-kick over the bar. In contrast, van Dijk was named man of the match for another imperious display.
Having characters like the Netherlands captain in the squad is one of the key reasons for the team’s strong mentality and why they have begun winning finals in recent years.