Former Arsenal defender Martin Keown has slammed Liverpool star defender Virgil van Dijk for his poor defending this season.
Liverpool have endured an extremely difficult season this time out with their defense being easy to exploit at times. The likes of Trent-Alexander Arnold, Van Dijk, and Joe Gomez have come under immense criticism.
Keown has claimed that van Dijk has everything in his game to become an all-time great but is often very passive in his defending.
The former England defender has urged the Dutchman to be more aggressive while defending rather than backing off. Keown told TalkSPORT:
“I feel he could be the all-time great. But what I feel he’s doing is at times instead of actually pressing and smothering his opponent, he’s stood like a statue. He’s hoping the ball’s going to hit him. And I Just think that the instinct needs to be to go towards the ball.”
“We saw Milner in his ear. Milner was bang on it. Then another against Zaha for Palace. It’s like he’s running in an Olympic lane. Get across, get across. Does he feel like he doesn’t want to get embarrassed? Why doesn’t he want to risk going in? I think you need to do that, do some of the rough and tough stuff.”
For the first time ever, Virgil van Dijk has LOST a Premier League game at Anfield 🤯
Keown has suggested that Van Dijk is brilliant in almost every department but is not the best in terms of blocks.
He also claimed that the Dutchman did a brilliant job of keeping Erling Haaland at bay alongside Joe Gomez in Liverpool’s 1-0 win over the Cityzens. Keown said:
“I thought it had gone away when he played Haaland, he and Gomez were quite magnificent. When get gets that (instinct to press) he’ll probably be the best defender we’ve seen, all around.”
“His passing is magnificent, he’s a giant in the air. He’s ahead of a lot in most categories, but he isn’t on blocks.”
Van Dijk has helped Liverpool keep four clean sheets in 12 Premier League games this season. They will next face Tottenham Hotspur away on November 6.
Liverpool open contract talks with star attacker: Reports
Liverpool are reportedly set to enter contract talks with Brazilian attacker Roberto Firmino.
The Reds number nine has enjoyed a solid start to the season despite his team’s struggles on the pitch. He has scored eight goals and provided four assists in 18 games across competitions this campaign.
Virgil van Dijk on his move to Liverpool:
“I definitely felt ready but I know how the world works, everybody would be speaking about £75m instead of the quality I have.” #lfc [overlap]
The Brazil international has entered the final year of his deal at Anfield and it was initially thought that he was destined to leave for free.
However, the flamboyant attacker has seen a resurgence in his form this campaign, prompting Liverpool to offer him a new deal.
Since joining the club from Hoffenheim in 2015, Firmino has registered 106 goals and 78 assists in 345 matches.
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