Being one of the few defenders Erling Haaland has failed to score against so far this season, Virgil van Dijk says he has a plan to stop the free-scoring Norwegian when Liverpool face Manchester City on Sunday.
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Since arriving in England, Haaland has found the back of the net in all but two competitive games, the most recent shutout coming against Bournemouth in the Premier League and while he did not score in that match, he did provide an assist for Ilkay Gundogan.
The first fixture he did not hit the back of the net in, however, was English football's curtain-raiser, the FA Community Shield. That day at the King Power Stadium, Jurgen Klopp's Liverpool were able to stifle the Scandinavian forward in a 3-1 victory.
Part of the Reds' defence that day was Van Dijk, and while Haaland did not score, the Dutch defender knew then already that the forward would become a handful for Premier League backlines.
"It's definitely not easy – he's been on fire, you can't say anything else," the 31-year-old told Norwegian broadcaster TV2.
"I remember after the Community Shield where a lot of people have been writing him off, I remember I was saying: 'Listen, this guy is going to cause so many defenders nightmares.'
"He's shown it, he's been showing a consistent level and obviously in a team like City where chances will always come.
"We have to try to stop the balls going to him, defend at the highest level, and be at our best, and that's what we always have to be against City and that's not going to be any different on Sunday.
"It's something we should look forward to, it's definitely not me against him, it's all of us versus all of them. It's the outside world that creates battles, one versus one and all this stuff.
"We want to stop them scoring, regardless of who it is on the pitch. But we know he's quite good."
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No manager has got the better of Pep Guardiola more than Klopp has, so stopping Haaland this weekend could go a long way to helping the six-time European champions get their domestic campaign back on track.
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