Wolves’ humbling of ‘average’ Liverpool proves Garth Crooks right about £220k-p/w star

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Liverpool are a team struggling to deliver a clear impact at either end of the pitch, with the club shipping goals at a remarkable rate whilst lacking an edge up top.

For Garth Crooks, the matter of the Reds’ leaky defence – most recently epitomised by the 3-0 defeat against Wolves – can be boiled down to the absence of star centre-half Virgil van Dijk.

Meanwhile, Liverpool are leaking goals. I said some time ago that injured defender Virgil van Dijk is their most important player and one clean sheet in their last 10 away Premier League matches rather proves the point,” the BBC Sport commentator wrote in his Team of the Week column. “At the moment, Liverpool look average at best.”

The numbers would certainly reflect the former Tottenham man’s point, with the Merseysiders looking more reliable with the Dutchman (on a reported £220,000-per-week, according to Capology) present in the heart of the backline.

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Though worth highlighting how small a sample size we’re dealing with when discussing top-flight games without our No.4 present, it’s interesting to note that our conceding average (2.3 per game) in the three league games he’s been in the treatment room is almost double the average of when he’s been in the starting-XI (1.23 per game).

One might reasonably suspect that the current rate won’t deviate significantly whilst Van Dijk recovers from the hamstring injury he picked up during our 3-1 defeat to Brentford.

The resulting knock-on effect on the rest of Liverpool’s game can’t be ignored either.

With the former Southampton man back in action, we’d expect to see a visible impact on build-up play and our end product as a higher degree of defensive assurance no doubt gives Klopp the confidence to loosen the leash slightly on Andy Robertson and Trent Alexander-Arnold to contribute to chance creation.

That’s not to claim that Van Dijk’s availability “fixes” our season, though it most certainly makes us a more competent outfit across the pitch just as much as it helps shore up the back four.

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1 Comment

  1. Garth Crooks – such a wise pundit……..he said, sarcasm, dripping off his tongue. He gets paid to say such “wise” words. Average pundit, average player!!!!!

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