Virgil van Dijk has been accused of “arrogance” in Liverpool’s opening day victory over Leeds, and should not be put in the same bracket as Rio Ferdinand and Vincent Kompany.
Mohamed Salah’s late penalty rescued all three points for the Reds at Anfield, as the Egypt ace hit a hat-trick to fire his team to a 4-3 victory.
But Leeds cut through Liverpool’s backline with ease, and former Aston Villa forward Gabby Agbonlahor has accused Van Dijk of being arrogant and not putting in the required effort against Marcelo Bielsa’s side.
“Everyone knows Virgil van Dijk is an unbelievable defender,” Agbonlahor told talkSPORT. “On the ball he can switch the diagonals, and defensively no one wants to come up against him.
“But I felt yesterday’s performance was, from Van Dijk, arrogant; that flick he made in the goal he gave away, it felt like ‘we are playing Leeds United, it’s going to be an easy game and I can let my standards drop’.
“And in that game, he did [let his standards drop].
“Even Trent Alexander-Arnold on the right was poor defensively as well.
“Van Dijk is a great defender, and he will be one of the greatest defenders to ever play the game, but when people start putting him in the Vincent Kompany and Rio Ferdinand bracket…
“I think people forget how good certain players were as time goes by.
“People forget how good Rio Ferdinand was in his prime; you wouldn’t even want to go on the same side of the pitch as him!
“It was the same with Kompany, and John Terry as well; you just wouldn’t want to take them on as you’d have no chance.
“Virgil van Dijk is an amazing defender, but you can’t put him in that category of Rio Ferdinand and Vincent Kompany yet.
“I feel like it was arrogance from Liverpool defensively today,” he added. “Like they didn’t realise how good of a team Leeds really are.
“I feel a lot of teams watching Leeds will be more wary of how they play, and this may be a wake-up call for Liverpool as well.”