Liverpool star slammed for ‘going on vacation’ while on international duty – ‘I can’t defend them’

Lewis Oldham
Liverpool man slammed

Liverpool defender Virgil van Dijk has been slammed by Netherlands legend Ruud Gullit following their recent defeats against Croatia and Italy.

The centre-back came under fire for his below-par performances for Liverpool during the 2022/23 campaign.

Most of Jurgen Klopp’s players were far from their best as they finished fifth in the Premier League and were unable to lift any silverware.

Liverpool are overhauling their squad ahead of next season and Klopp is reportedly looking to sign a young centre-back who can compete with Van Dijk.

They have already signed Alexis Mac Allister as they are in the market for players to replace James Milner, Naby Keita, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Roberto Firmino.

Defender Ibrahima Konate has admitted that these players need to be replaced.

“We have to replace them,” the central defender exclaimed. “If not, what do we do? Do we play with an understaffed squad lacking in quality? You can’t rely on youth at this level. I’m sure the boss and the recruitment team know we need new players.”

“We had a rough start to the season,” added Konate. “We said to ourselves that the Champions League was the goal, and I think we won like ten games from our last 11 matches [the Reds actually won seven from nine].”

Van Dijk has not been afforded much of a break before next season as he has been playing for the Netherlands this month.

The Liverpool star started against Croatia as the Netherlands suffered a 4-2 defeat in the Nations League semi-finals and he was also involved as they were beaten 3-2 by Italy in the third-placed play-off.

READ MORE: Van Dijk replacement at Liverpool mooted in January transfer predictions after summer regrets

Gullit was far from pleased with what he saw from Van Dijk and his teammates in these games. He does not think that the defender and Barcelona’s Frenkie de Jong “have leadership skills”.

“I have been looking for arguments to defend Koeman and the internationals in the Nations League,” Gullit wrote for De Telegraaf.

“After all, I have also been a player and you do not like this to happen in a big football event organised in your country.

“After a tremendous fight, I can’t defend Koeman and his players. Did you feel like going on vacation? Despite the fact that they are idolised by some people in the Netherlands, often to loud applause, I find that these two important players do not measure up when necessary.

“They do not reach the level that can be required of them as decisive international leaders. I think Van Dijk and De Jong don’t have leadership skills.

“Actually, I’m asking them for something they don’t have. They need more attention to their own game. It’s difficult for a coach to work without leaders on the pitch and it’s supposed to be that Van Dijk and De Jong should be those leaders.”

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