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missing out Virgil van Dijk admits title race heading in one direction as he praises Caoimhín Kelleher

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Liverpool's Caoimhin Kelleher and Virgil van Dijk bump fists with Chelsea's Antonio Rudiger after the match. Photo: Reuters

Liverpool's Caoimhin Kelleher and Virgil van Dijk bump fists with Chelsea's Antonio Rudiger after the match. Photo: Reuters

Liverpool's Caoimhin Kelleher and Virgil van Dijk bump fists with Chelsea's Antonio Rudiger after the match. Photo: Reuters

Liverpool defender Virgil van Dijk has admitted that the Premier League title is Manchester City’s to lose after yesterday’s 2-2 draw with Chelsea at Stamford Bridge.

The Reds led 2-0 in what was billed as must-win game for both sides, but goals from Mateo Kovacic and Christian Pulisic saw Chelsea fight back to earn a share of the points.

That result, however, did little side any favours as they sought to close the gap on City, who have now pulled ten points clear at the top after a run of 11 straight league victories, including Saturday’s last-gasp triumph at Arsenal.

Van Dijk, who was criticised for his defending for Pulisic’s leveller, insisted he still believed the gap could be closed but admitted the defending champions have one hand on the trophy already.

“It’s never difficult to believe,” Van Dijk said. “It’s a big gap. They’ve got the title to lose at the moment, but anything can happen still.

“Unfortunately we’ve been there and we had a gap out in front, and we gave it away.

“Anything is possible. We will focus on ourselves, Chelsea will focus on themselves. We just have to get results. Get results, play good football, win games.”

Van Dijk also spoke about his Irish teammate Caoimhín Kelleher after the keeper's impressive performance in the 2-2 draw with Chelsea in the Premier League.

The Republic of Ireland goalkeeper was elevated to the starting line-up after first-choice Alisson Becker was ruled out with a positive Covid-19 test and the 23-year-old started the biggest Premier League game of his career so far.

The Cork native thrived in a high-pressure environment, making two fine stops from Christian Pulisic in either half, performing his duties well throughout.

“I’m quite a big fan of him,” said Van Dijk. “He’s a fantastic goalkeeper, he’s learning from the best, in my opinion, with Alisson.

“His presence is good, he’s confident on the ball and he’s making good saves as well so that’s good."

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