Virgil van Dijk doesn’t think that fielding Naby Keita and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain in midfield affects us defensively, following Liverpool’s 4-1 victory over Genk in the Champions League.
The Belgians were a poor outfit, in truth, and were put to the sword by two Ox goals and late efforts from Sadio Mane and Mo Salah.
Most Reds don’t think Jurgen Klopp would start both Keita and Ox in a big game – with Jordan Henderson and Gini Wijnaldum tactically more trusted and disciplined – but van Dijk thinks it would be fine thanks to Fabinho behind them.
“I don’t think so,” he said, when asked about the potential negative impact. “We still had Fabinho in front of us who cleans up everything,” the Holland international told the Independent.
“They left one or two strikers up front and we tried to get involved. That’s the way we play.
“We just have to do better at winning the second balls and in the transition with the counter-press.”
We did appreciate how Ox and Keita enhanced our progression from defence to attack – and especially the former’s ability to shoot from range.
But there was undeniably lots of space for Genk to play balls into our channels when our fullbacks pushed on.
Usually, Hendo and Gini cover these gaps – which Ox and Keita will need to learn to do if they’re to become regulars.
It’ll be mighty interesting to see who Klopp goes with on Sunday for the Spurs tie. We’re predicting a three of Fabinho, Gini and Hendo – with Keita and Ox our first subs off the bench.