“He has to improve”- Van Dijk receives warning after penalty mistake

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Ronald Koeman has urged Virgil van Dijk to alter his relaxed approach as a means of cutting out mistakes to his game.

The Dutchman’s outstanding start to the season was rocked with a rare moment of rashness on Sunday as he conceded a penalty in Liverpool’s draw with Manchester City.

His decision to go to ground on Leroy Sane was in contrast to the commanding and assured performance he had produced until then.

Koeman himself was not left best pleased with the incident, following on from his disappointment over Van Dijk’s failure to deny Olivier Giroud a winning goal in France’s win over the Netherlands during the last international break.

He said: “I told Virgil within 30 seconds of the end of the game against France what I thought,” per the Mirror.

“I know him so well – and that means I know where all his little faults are. Virgil has to improve. Not a lot. But sometimes he is a little too laid back. That needs to change.”

“There are moments as a defender when you should be no more than three feet away from the striker you are marking.”
Virgil van Dijk, Joe Gomez
Virgil van Dijk, Joe Gomez – image by Liverpoolfc.com

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Koeman’s criticism is more so in acknowledgement of Van Dijk’s high standards and world class capabilities than a pressing need for improvement to his game.

The world’s most expensive defender has been Liverpool’s most valuable player across their unbeaten start to the new Premier League campaign.

His authority alongside Joe Gomez has afforded the Reds a solid foundation on which to compensate for their recent lack of conviction in the final third.

To think there is still room for improvement only bodes well for Liverpool’s title challenge.

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