'It is his responsibility!' - Dutch legend Ruud Gullit blames Virgil van Dijk for Liverpool's recent problems
- Van Dijk has struggled for consistency this season
- Continues to look passive at the back
- Gullit puts Liverpool's defensive issues on him
WHAT HAPPENED? It has been argued by many that Van Dijk hasn't returned to the levels he was performing at prior to picking up an anterior cruciate ligament injury in a challenge with Jordan Pickford in the Merseyside derby back in October 2020. While the Dutchman continues to be a stalwart of Liverpool's backline and their best defender by some distance, his form this campaign has certainly raised a few eyebrows. The latest to question the 31-year-old is former Netherlands manager Gullit who thinks the injury has changed Van Dijk's style of defending.
WHAT THEY SAID: Speaking on Dutch TV channel Ziggo Sports, the former midfielder said: "Since he came back after his injury, he has been defending passively. He was defending and blocking a bit like a skater. He just didn’t go full on it. And of course, he can have a bad period but he has to be a leader. If that defence is not doing well, it is his responsibility."
THE BIGGER PICTURE: Liverpool have already conceded more goals than they did during the entirety of last season but it all can't be put down to Van Dijk's indifferent form. The lack of consistent partners in defence has cost them, too. The Dutchman has started alongside all four of Joel Matip, Joe Gomez, Ibrahima Konate and Nat Phillips this campaign as the quartet rotate in and out of the starting XI due to constant injury issues. Van Dijk himself has only just returned from a hamstring problem that kept him out for the best part of six weeks.
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WHAT NEXT FOR VAN DIJK? There's little doubt the defender will start at the back for Liverpool as they make the trip to Crystal Palace later today.