Virgil van Dijk has been widely ridiculed on social media after a poor performance that saw the Dutch captain conceding a penalty as Fulham earned a draw with Champions League finalists Liverpool in their first fixture since returning to the Premier League.
The Championship winners enjoyed a fantastic start against Jurgen Klopp’s side, with Mitrovic rising above Trent Alexander-Arnold to put Fulham 1-0 up after 32 minutes.
The Serbian striker was a consistent threat throughout the first 45 minutes, with Marco Silva’s team going into the break with a shock lead.
Aleksandar Mitrovic rises above Trent Alexander-Arnold to score Fulham’s opener
Jurgen Klopp looks on as his team scraped a 2-2 draw with Fulham at Craven Cottage
Liverpool made a stronger start in the second half, but Mitrovic continued to be a thorn in the side of one of the Premier League’s strongest defences, powering his way past Jordan Henderson and dribbling past a bewildered Virgil van Dijk in an extraordinary run.
Darwin Nunez grabbed his first competitive goal for the Reds to level the game on 64 minutes, but Fulham refused to lay down and Mitrovic again popped up among the action, winning a penalty after being brought down in the box by Van Dijk.
The former Newcastle United forward then doubled his tally by blasting his penalty past Allison to once again put Fulham in the lead at Craven Cottage.
Virgil van Dijk had a performance to forget in Liverpool’s Premier League opener
Aleksandar Mitrovic silenced critics with his exceptional performance in front of goal
A goal from Mohamed Salah on 80 minutes would ultimately rescue a point for Liverpool, but the star of the day was undoubtedly Fulham’s number nine.
With a reputation as one of the Premier League’s most unflappable defensive stalwarts, Van Dijk’s shocking performance drew the ire of a number of fans on social media.
Twitter user @CFCMod_ wrote: ‘Mitrovic has had Van Disney on strings all game’
@ProperPundits added: ‘Van Dijk got bullied by Mitrovic but LFC fans think he’d pocket prime Drogba, Henry, Shearer, Rooney’
Another user added: ‘I’m not saying Van Dijk is bad but considering his (imo) generational talent the level he’s playing at rn is simply not good enough’
@ForteLuNineteen also remarked on Liverpool’s difficulty to contain the surging Mitrovic: ‘Van Dijk and Henderson had terrible games today. Mitrovic had Van Dijk by his collar all game.’
Another user remarked on Mitrovic’s previous struggles on international duty: ‘Virgil Van Dijk just got embarrassed by a striker who spent 120 minutes in Declan Gallagher’s back pocket not that long ago’
Social media users mocked the Dutch captain’s poor performance at Craven Cottage