‘I’m not naive’ – Virgil van Dijk provides honest assessment of early season form

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Virgil van Dijk has been discussing his form at the start of the new season and has weighed in on what it’s like to captain both Liverpool and the Netherlands.

The central defender has received criticism recently for some of his performances with Jurgen Klopp’s side as the Reds have struggled to hit the ground running this term.

The Merseysiders have won just two of their opening six Premier League games so far and the No. 4 has looked far from his best at times.

The 31-year-old captained his nation to a 2-0 victory over Poland on Thursday night but he is aware that he’s experienced a dip in form in recent weeks.

“I know I could have done better in the beginning of the season. I’m not naive about that. I know very well when I make mistakes,” Van Dijk told reporters (as quoted by the Liverpool Echo).

“I also know that I am one of the important players at the club and of course also here at the national team. I feel that responsibility. Mentally it’s a challenge. You feel a lot of pressure on your head. A lot of people forget that too, it’s not easy to do that.

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“We all try to show our best and if, in my case, you are one of the mainstays at the club, then you get the criticism you deserve. You have to deal with that and that is not always easy. But I did that just fine.”

The former Southampton star has played every single minute for his club so far this season and has captained the side on a number of occasions with Jordan Henderson currently sidelined with a hamstring injury.

After defeating Ajax 2-1 in their last outing before the international break, Klopp will now be hoping his side can put together a decent run of form before domestic football is disrupted again for the Qatar World Cup in November.

Van Dijk believes the Reds have turned a corner after earning all three points against the Amsterdam outfit – their first win of this season’s Champions League group stage.

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The Anfield outfit suffered an embarrassing 4-1 defeat to Napoli in their opening UCL clash earlier this month, a performance that the German tactician described as the worst since he arrived at the club in 2015.

The Dutch defender revealed that he and his teammates ‘spoke well’ in the build-up to the Ajax clash in order to ensure they didn’t put in such a lacklustre performance again.

“We spoke well (with each other), especially in the week leading up to the (Champions League) match against Ajax,” Van Dijk continued.

“It doesn’t mean it can’t happen again. But it is important, and I see that with the national team too, that the focus is all in the same direction. That is the basis for success.”

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