Rio Ferdinand believes Virgil van Dijk’s struggles are due to Liverpool’s inconsistency this season
Rio Ferdinand believes Virgil van Dijk’s struggles are due to Liverpool’s inconsistency this season… as Michael Owen claims he’s being ‘exposed’ as a result of the team’s inefficient pressing
- Virgil van Dijk has been a key player for Liverpool during his five years at the club
- However, he has struggled at times this season in a vulnerable Reds defence
- Ferdinand and Owen claimed the team’s inconsistent displays are to blame
Rio Ferdinand and Michael Owen have insisted that Virgil van Dijk’s dip in form is a result of the wider struggles of Liverpool this season.
The Dutch defender has been a talisman for the Reds ever since his £75m move from Southampton back in January 2018.
However, Van Dijk has struggled at times during this campaign and was exposed along with the rest of Liverpool’s defence in their 5-2 first leg defeat to Real Madrid at Anfield last month.
He was also partly at fault for Philip Billing’s goal for Bournemouth on Saturday when he failed to stop Dango Ouattara’s cross.
And, discussing Van Dijk’s malaise ahead of the second leg tie with Real on Wednesday, Ferdinand told BT Sport: ‘There are phases in your career when things don’t go to plan.’
Liverpool’s talismanic defender Virgil van Dijk has endured a dip in form during this season
Rio Ferdinand claimed the inconsistent form of the Reds is a main reasons for the malaise
‘(But) you look at great centre-halves like Vidic, Kompany, Campbell, Terry, Jaap Stam they don’t have a season off or big periods like eight to nine games off.
‘The form of the team plays a part though and it does have an impact and sometimes you’re as good as team around you.
‘He hasn’t had the team performing in the way that suits his style of play.’
Former Reds star Owen agreed and pointed to how the inconsistency of Jurgen Klopp’s side, along with their pressing not being as efficient, has exposed Van Dijk.
He added: ‘When Liverpool are playing well you don’t have much to do (as a defender), they win the ball at the front.
‘The problem is they leave themselves exposed (at the moment) so it’s a difficult position to play in if your team isn’t functioning well.
‘It’s difficult at the moment because he’s getting exposed in one-vs-ones. If they are playing well you don’t even notice him and he just mops up everything.’
Van Dijk has been a key reason for Liverpool’s glittering success over recent years under Klopp