Liverpool is in crisis. After an almost round campaign in which they fought for the four titles, winning the Carabao and the FA Cup and losing the Premier and the Champions in the last game, the ‘reds’ are hitting it in this English League.
They have lost twice as many games (four) in 12 days than in the entire 2021-22 (two). They are ninth, 15 points behind the lead (with one less game) and eight from the Champions League zone after a start in which they have been torn apart in defense. And that is Van Dijk.
“I think I can do much better. If the criticism focuses on me? It will always be the case, it is the good and the bad of football. I still think I need to improve and the only way to do that is to play, learn from mistakes and not listen too much to the outside world,” the Dutch central defender confessed in September.
More than a month later, the 2019 Silver Ball, elevated to the best center back in the world by critics for his brilliant performances and regularity, has turned deadly. The defender whose signing in 2018 changed the history of Klopp’s Liverpool, who toughened up behind and won the Champions (2019) and Premier (2020) with his football at full throttle, is not enough.
Two losses in a row and problems behind
The ‘Pool’ chained its second consecutive defeat in the English League against Leeds (1-2). A stumble at Anfield that ended Van Dijk’s record of 70 unbeaten games in the Premier! The Dutchman was pristine in his stadium in the British championship until the ‘Whites’ knocked them out.
Van Dijk is 10 out of 10 as a central defender in almost everything. The only thing is that sometimes I think he lacks a bit of intensity at certain times and throw himself on the ground
In addition, he appeared in the photos of the two visiting goals. The mistake of Joe Gomez, who went to nothing in the area scoring Rodrigo to an empty goal, caught him off guard and did not enter Summerville at 1-2. “We can’t defend the second goal like that,” Klopp said resignedly. A winger who had been criticized before by both Carragher and Milner, who criticized him in the middle of the game against United for not going out to squeeze Sancho at 1-0.
“Van Dijk is 10 out of 10 as a central defender in almost everything. The only thing is that sometimes I think he lacks a bit of intensity at certain times and throw himself on the ground. I know it’s a strength for a defender to stand up, but sometimes you have to jump in and make yourself bigger,” said the former ‘Pool’ player. “It’s funny because there are a lot of exes who know exactly what we went through, but they say a lot to try to depress us,” replied the VD.
The numbers speak of a Van Dijk who recovers almost the same (8.78 balls on average per game this year and 8.68 in 2021-22) but less in the rival field (0.76 the current one by 1.29 last ). He loses more balls in total (3.03 per 2.31), in his half of the field of play (0.61 per 0.44) and many of them end up in the opponent’s shot in less than 20 seconds (0.91 per 0.52). Still, he intercepts more (6.59 times 5.82) and performs more defensive actions (15.06 times 13.96) and with more success (13.32 times 12.31). The Dutch work accumulates. Liverpool has worsened globally behind in the Premier: they shoot more, fit more, lose more, intercept less… [ver grfico]
The defense dance
The injuries have ‘broken’ the ‘red’ wall. Eight times Van Dijk has shared behind with Joe Gomez in Premier, three with Matip and another with Phillips. A dance of couples due to the ailments of the Cameroonian and Konat, who has only played 21 minutes in the League, which together with the slump and the physical problems of Alexander-Arnold and Robertson have made him unprotected. And the ‘Pool’ has gone from conceding an average of 0.7 goals per game last season to 1.2 sta. Crystal Palace, Fulham, Forest… have taken a ‘slice’ against some vulnerable ‘reds’.
I think I can do much better. Are the critics focused on me? It will always be the case, it is the good and the bad of football. I keep thinking that I need to improve and the only way to do that is to play, learn from mistakes and not listen too much to the outside world.
“I just try to keep consistency in my game. That’s the most important thing: find consistency and enjoy it. I am doing my best to return to my highest level“, pointed out the center back. His two defeats in a row (Forest (1-0) and Leeds (1-2) have shaken his castle. And his keeper cannot repel all the attacks.
Already on the opening day against Fulham was dribbled for the first time in the Premier… committing his first penalty in the English tournament! Mitrovic took both of his marks. A madness after a ‘perfect’ five years in which any absence of his was a ‘drama’.
I just try to keep consistency in my game. That’s the most important thing: find the consistency and enjoy it. I am doing my best to return to my highest level
In 2020-21, the ‘reds’ cracked without Van Dijk, who missed almost the entire course after his serious knee injury. They suffered to finish in the ‘top4’… and now it looks like they will have to sweat to get into the Champions League. “He has returned to his best level, he makes us better,” Klopp said after his return last season. Now, the ‘Pool’ needs his superhero.
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Van Dijk turns deadly: “I can do much better”