Jurgen Klopp says it was “unbelievable how much” his Liverpool side wanted to win the match as they hung on to beat Brighton 2-1.
Two first-half headers from Van Dijk put the leaders on course for a comfortable victory at Anfield but a rash decision from Alisson and a Lewis Dunk reply left them hanging on for victory.
Alisson was dismissed for handling outside his area and his replacement Adrian was caught out by the quick-thinking Dunk.
Yet despite a nail-biting conclusion – with Mohamed Salah and Roberto Firmino having already been substituted – Liverpool held on to ensure they took full advantage of champions Manchester City’s 2-2 draw at Newcastle earlier in the day.
Klopp told BBC Sport: “It was unnecessary [for the game to be nervy at the end], of course, because we had unbelievable chances. Their keeper made some good saves.
“It was difficult this game because Brighton are a good football side. They put players between the lines. They put so many players there so it’s difficult to defend. They had a lot of possession and we had to work really hard. I loved that the boys were prepared to do that after a busy week.
“We then had the red card for Alisson. Adrian comes in with cold feet and cold hands but made two really good saves. The boys threw everything on the pitch. It’s unbelievable how much they want to win. They made it a really special win.”