Liverpool Echo journalist Ian Doyle has slammed Liverpool defender and star man Virgil van Dijk for his ‘all over the place’ performance as the Reds fell to bitter rivals Manchester United 2-1 at Old Trafford.
Liverpool failed to hit the ground running against their foes as United’s Jadon Sancho put the home team a goal up in the 16th minute, before a controversial Marcus Rashford goal, which could have been given as offside before they clawed one back through their key man Mohammed Salah.
One player who has since garnered criticism for his performance is Van Dijk, as the Dutchman could have done better to prevent Sancho’s shot from going in for the Red Devils’ first and was labelled as ‘very poor’ by Doyle in his player ratings.
Doyle wrote for the Liverpool Echo: “Very poor for United’s opener and rightly earned an x-rated rebuke from Milner. Better when dealing with Rashford before break but all over the place at times second half.”
TIF Thoughts on Liverpool and Van Dijk…
It is not surprising Van Dijk was given such a bad rating from Doyle when you look at his match statistics according to SofaScore. Having played the full 90 minutes, the Dutch international lost both his ground duels and lost possession 13 times, finishing with a 6.8 match rating.
In the heart of the defence, Van Dijk was joined by former England international Joe Gomez, and in a shocking twist, the last time these two paired at the back for Liverpool came in October 2020, when they were humiliated 7-2 away at Aston Villa.
After just three games, it already looks a tough task for Liverpool to mount a title challenge against the likes of Manchester City and Arsenal, as they currently sit five points behind the Citizens and a whopping seven off the Gunners at the top of the table.
This kind of performance is not good enough if they are to finish in the top four, let alone try and challenge for the title with the best in England. They desperately need Van Dijk to step up and be the defender that was feared by strikers across Europe just months ago. What we saw on Monday night was not good enough,