Liverpool star Virgil van Dijk names Olivier Giroud as unlikely toughest opponent

 (Getty Images)
(Getty Images)

Virgil van Dijk revealed Olivier Giroud is the toughest opponent he has faced, bemoaning the Frenchman’s ability to always find a way to get on the scoresheet.

Giroud scored 90 Premier League goals across his time at Arsenal and Chelsea, while he also found the back of the net for France when playing against Van Dijk’s Netherlands side in 2019.

Speaking to Gary Neville on the latest episode of The Overlap, Van Dijk mentioned Lionel Messi, Sergio Aguero and Erling Haaland as some of those to have given him problems, but surprisingly went for Giroud as the striker he felt he struggled with the most.

“I always felt like I had him but somehow he always managed to score against us,” Van Dijk said. “Whether it was for Arsenal, Chelsea or France, he always scored.

“The year we won the Premier League in the 2019-20 season, we beat Chelsea 5-3. We were winning 3-0 and he scored a scrappy goal, and I thought to myself, ‘we’re winning comfortably, but he’s still scoring against me’.”

He added: “He is the guy that scores against me and just that annoying person.”

While there was plenty of praise from Van Dijk for Giroud, the Dutchman spoke in less glowing terms about club legend Jamie Carragher and how he would fit in with the current Liverpool squad.

When asked by Neville whether Carragher would get into the side as it is now, Van Dijk was quick to state that the pundit would very much have a watching brief.

“Not even in the full squad, the first 20,” Van Dijk responded. “He would be in the stands.

“You have two centre-backs playing – hopefully I’m playing and then Joe Gomez now. So we have [Joel] Matip and [Ibrahima] Konate – you’re not going to put a third centre-back on.

“No [he wouldn’t get in the squad]. And I’m dead serious about that. He played many, many games for Liverpool but I would say in the modern-day game, Matip and Konate would be ahead of him.”