Virgil van Dijk continues to attract criticism despite an imperious return to form for Liverpool in 2023/24.
Eamon Dunphy was on record as suggesting the Dutchman was the weak link in the Reds’ backline, accusing him of having lost ‘that yard or two of pace’.
“They seem to give a goal up every time they play,” the pundit told The Stand (via The Boot Room).
“West Ham scored one yesterday and there’s a big question mark around [Virgil] van Dijk.
“You watched the match in the Aviva when we played Holland, you know even Adam Idah had the legs on him and he was very lucky not to give away a penalty or a goal.”
This comes despite the No.4 registering the most interceptions and aerial duels won per game in the Premier League this season (WhoScored).
VOTE for Empire of the Kop as Best Club Content Creator (Premier League) here: Football Content Awards OR on X with Empire’s one-click X link with: I am voting in @The_FCAs for @empireofthekop in Best Club Content Creator (Premier League)
Whilst we can appreciate that interceptions and aerial dominance isn’t the be and end all of what makes a top-class defender, it seems a little harsh to chuck so much in the way of blame at our skipper.
As far as raw numbers are concerned, we have the second-best defence in the league with only five goals conceded (two more than Manchester City) – even if Virgil has been absent for two of our opening six league games!
Perhaps it would be better to judge the former Southampton star’s contributions come the halfway point in the campaign.