Liverpool star who performed ‘above expectations’ told he should take ‘blame’ for leaky defence

Joe Williams
Liverpool defender Virgil van Dijk heads the ball

Former Liverpool goalkeeper Sander Westerveld thinks Virgil van Dijk should be “blamed” for the Premier League side’s leaky defence this season.

The Reds have made a poor start to the new Premier League campaign with Jurgen Klopp’s men only managing four wins out of 11 this term.

Many have blamed the Liverpool midfield for their underperformance this campaign with the argument that they aren’t providing enough protection for the defence or creativity for the front line.

Liverpool have already conceded 13 goals in the Premier League this season, which is half of the total that they conceded in the whole of the 2021/22 campaign.

A number of players, including Van Dijk, have been below their usual standards and the Westerveld reckons the centre-back needs to “be blamed” for Liverpool conceding “way too many goals”.

Westerveld told De Telegraaf (via Soccernews): “They concede way too many goals. Virgil van Dijk can also be blamed for that. He no longer plays as convincingly as usual. Actually, Virgil performed above expectations last season – after that serious knee injury.

“Because of all the injuries to his teammates, Virgil almost never plays with the same partner and that doesn’t help either.

“But he was known for almost always playing well. Now, it’s just not the case in many matches and he makes quite a few mistakes left and right. I personally think this is his worst season at Liverpool. It’s also not the case that he has forgotten it, has he? He played Erling Haaland out of the game last week.”

It looked like Liverpool were getting back to last season’s levels after back-to-back victories over Manchester City and West Ham but a 1-0 defeat to Nottingham Forest at the weekend has again dampened spirits.

Earlier this season, Van Dijk hit out at former players for their criticism of the Liverpool team, he said: “Not listening to the outside world, that’s the most important thing!

“It’s funny sometimes, you know, because there’s a lot of ex-football players and they know exactly what we go through but they say a lot of things to try and get us down.

“We know exactly that last week was unacceptable, it was very bad and we try to make it right.

“This is a step in the right direction – don’t get carried away, of course, because we play so many games – now it’s time to focus on the national teams, or get a well-deserved break for a little bit, and then crack on with the rest.”

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