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Ivan Toney passes Virgil van Dijk test and eyes up Liverpool ‘dream’

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For the first time in the Premier League this season, Virgil van Dijk and Liverpool looked vulnerable in defence.

Jurgen Klopp’s side had only conceded one goal in five league matches heading into Saturday’s contest with Brentford, but were breached three times by the Bees on an evening to forget for the Reds.

Van Dijk has barely had to break sweat in any of Liverpool’s games this season, though the Dutchman did not perform in his usual assured manner and was exploited on more than one occasion.

READ MORE: Liverpool get Virgil van Dijk ‘shock’ as Jurgen Klopp warning goes unheeded

Ivan Toney was the man who made life difficult for the 30-year-old as his physical strength and ability to make dangerous runs proved problematic for Klopp’s side.

You wouldn’t know this was Toney’s first season at the top level of English football based on his performance, highlighting to many Brentford’s inspired transfer gamble on the former Peterborough United striker.

Looking ahead to his first campaign in the Premier League in July, Toney admitted Van Dijk was the best defender was likely to face all season – a challenge he certainly rose to on Saturday.

“I think he will be thinking about how he’s going to get the better of me, more than me getting the better of him,” Toney told The Athletic .

“He’s human. Let’s just hope I have a worldie that day and he lets me get free.

“It will be a good challenge. A lot different from what I’m used to and I can’t wait.”

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The 25-year-old forward grew up as a Liverpool fan and was denied a winning goal against his boyhood club.

Toney broke through on goal to make it 4-3 to Thomas Frank’s side, only for the offside flag to be raised.

But he still has time to achieve his ‘dream’ of the 2021/22 season when Liverpool and Brentford go head-to-head at Anfield later on this campaign.

“Scoring in front of the Kop is the dream this season,” admitted Toney.

Liverpool were one of a number of Premier League sides who failed to act when Toney became available to purchase at the end of the 2019/20 season, paving the way for Brentford to complete yet another transfer coup.

Many Reds supporters called for the Anfield hierarchy to target the free-scoring forward after yesterday’s match, a move that would likely appeal to Toney based on his love for the club.

In a separate interview with Four Four Two, the ex-Posh attacker revealed his childhood hero was none other than a certain Liverpool legend.

He said: “It’s got to be Steven Gerrard – as a Liverpool fan, he was the guy.”



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