Virgil van Dijk’s absence from the Liverpool side last season was afforded a large portion of responsibility for the particularly unsteady form that followed his ACL injury.
The Dutchman has been a mainstay of the team this season as the Reds remain unbeaten in the Premier League, with a 100% Champions League record in the so-called ‘group of death’, though a number of neutrals had a poor opinion of his European performance.
He was again involved throughout last night as a successful return to the Wanda Metropolitano Stadium ended with three more European points.
Rival supporters (and some of our ‘fans’ alike) have been quick to criticise the No.4’s performances on social media:
I’m watching Van Dijk right now and I can’t seem understand how people with chest can say he’s better than Ruben Dias. Ruben Dias blocks that Griezmann shot which is something people criticise Dias for. It’s a defenders job to block shots.
— ⁹ (@ErlingRoIe) October 19, 2021
This van dijk disaster class but you won’t hear about it because it’s not Maguire pic.twitter.com/0VoXivqniu
— King Darth Necris (@DarthNecris) October 19, 2021
— Nizou (@Nizoucfc) October 19, 2021
Of course, everyone is entitled to their opinions, and whether too much notice should be given to these supporters above is up for debate itself.
One person whose opinion would matter more to us and van Dijk would be the gaffer.
Jurgen Klopp said in the build-up to the match (via Sky Sports): “For me, the best centre-back in the world, for sure”.
Conceding two goals away in Madrid is certainly no room for an inquest, and for Liverpool to come away with all three points says a lot about the team performance.
Think we’re being biased? Virgil’s stats weren’t too bad last night either (via @Tactical_Times).
Virgil van Dijk vs. Atletico Madrid
78% Pass accuracy
9/13 Accurate long passes
1/1 Dribble completed
1/1 Shot on target
5/5 Duels won
How can you try to write off the best? pic.twitter.com/kqWb4JTMqO
— The Tactical Times (@Tactical_Times) October 19, 2021