Richard Keys makes Van Dijk claim which is at odds with what was seen in pre-season

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Richard Keys has made a rather bizarre claim about Virgil van Dijk ahead of the new Premier League season.

The former Sky Sports host was previewing the upcoming top-flight campaign in his eponymous blog when he addressed some concerns he had regarding the newly-appointed Liverpool captain.

Keys wrote: “I don’t think Liverpool have got a challenge in them either. The re-build was necessary, but I don’t see leaders in the team anymore.

“Van Dijk isn’t a leader. He’s too quiet – and selfish. If he plays well that’s all that seems to matter to him. And he didn’t play well often enough last season. I thought he was way off.”

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Having watched Van Dijk play for the Reds for the last five-and-a-half years, we find it hard to align with Keys’ criticisms of the 32-year-old.

The accusation of being ‘too quiet’ to be a leader on the pitch was refuted in pre-season, with the Liverpool Echo noting that the Dutchman was ‘bellowing instructions’ to teammates throughout the 4-4 draw against Greuther Furth a couple of weeks ago.

That was before he was confirmed as the new club captain, with the observation that he staked ‘a fair claim’ to replace Jordan Henderson as skipper proving prophetic.

We also disagree with Keys’ view that Van Dijk is a selfish player. By talking players through games, as he did during pre-season, he’s imparting valuable knowledge and advice to help them perform to their best for the collective good. That’s not the action of someone we’d define as self-centred.

The 32-year-old mightn’t have been at his world-class best for much of last season, but being given the captaincy could inspire him to rediscover the stratospheric standards he’d set previously. We’re more than happy to have him leading the team from the back at Anfield.

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  1. As per usual, Richard Keys talks out of his backside – why anyone actually believes anything he says is beyond me

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