Virgil van Dijk has been criticised by former Red Stan Collymore, as the inquest into Aston Villa 7-2 Liverpool continues.
The Dutchman wasn’t our worst defensive performer on the harrowing night – that title belongs to Joe Gomez – with Adrian just behind – but when you ship seven – there’s no way of suggesting he played well.
Collymore reckons as captain on the night, VVD needed to get his defensive line to drop deeper – and that a defender of a former era would have made this decision himself without needing advice from the manager.
“I’m not saying Van Dijk is anything other than a grade A, world-class footballer, because we all know he is. But what bothered me was how little responsibility he nor any of the other individuals in Liverpool and United shirts wanted to take,” he said, reported in Goal.
“Hansen and Lawrenson or [Gary] Pallister and [Steve] Bruce would have soon worked out a team was getting the run on them and would have taken responsibility, dropping off for five or six minutes to force opponents to try to find a different way through.
“These days, though, nothing ever seems to change — it’s as if players and managers are waiting until half-time for someone else to sort things out, or for the end of a game for an inquest.
“Even managers seem to want to keep doing the same thing even when it’s not working because, ‘That’s the way we play’.”
We don’t think singling out individual players for too much criticism is going to do much good, to be honest.
It was so, so bad from everyone bar Mo Salah, that we’re pretty sure the players and management will simply refuse to let it happen again.
When we got battered by Spurs at the back-end of 2017, it acted as a trigger point for improvement – and we hope this will allow the team to bounce back in a similar fashion.
The performances were abject, but the players are still world-class and the system is the same one that won us the title last season.