Liverpool defender Virgil van Dijk has been criticised by Dutch journalists Johan Derksen and Rene van der Gijp following his recent performances for club and country.
The Dutchman has been a mainstay for Liverpool and Netherlands over a number of years, but question marks are now being raised over his ability, having made defensive errors over recent weeks.
Van Dijk was brandished a straight red card against Newcastle United last month. Last week, he was responsible for conceding an early penalty against Ireland. The Dutch came back to win 2-1.
On both occasions, Van Dijk was spotted raging at the referee. Speaking to Vandaag Inside (via Voetbal Zone), Derksen said that he is getting ‘very tired’ of the constant excuses from the captain.
He added that the centre-back is ‘on his last legs’ and never thought of him as a star.
He said: “I’m getting very tired of that captain of the Netherlands. If there is a lack of performance, he uses all kinds of clichés to explain what went wrong. Can he still handle the level? No, he’s on his last legs.”
“I never thought of him as a star. He looks good, but I don’t think he’s a very good defender. He was only strong in the air. He then plays the so-called captain. He just kicks in open doors and that man never says anything.”
Meanwhile, Van der Gijp was not impressed with Van Dijk either. He highlighted that Van Dijk was an absolute top defender when the Reds won the Champions League, but things have changed since his serious injury.
He added: “I really thought Van Dijk was an absolute top defender at the time when Liverpool won the Champions League.”
“But I do think he took off his jacket after his injury. It was a really serious injury. In sprint duels, you can simply see that he has diminished. Sometimes it also looks uncertain.”
Van Dijk has endured a mixed spell with Liverpool over the last 14 months. He has shown signs of slowing down, and the club may need to consider a potential replacement for him. They could wait until next summer.
The Dutchman has been fluent with his distribution for most of his career, but he has become less effective with his forward passes into the opposition half. This season, he has completed only six such passes per game.
Van Dijk has also been slower with his decision-making in and around the box. The current campaign could be a make-or-break for him. If he can’t improve on his form, the club may eventually find a successor for him.
Stats from Sofascore.com
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