‘We are not robots’ – Van Dijk hits back at criticism of Liverpool defending in heavy Real Madrid loss

Joe Williams
Liverpool defender Virgil van Dijk wins a header up against Karim Benzema

Virgil van Dijk says the Liverpool defence are “not robots” and there is always the possibility that they will make mistakes against a top side like Real Madrid.

A number of pundits and former players – including Jamie Carragher – hit out at the defending from Jurgen Klopp’s side as a number of mistakes cost them in their 5-2 loss against Real Madrid on Tuesday night.

It had all looked rosy early on with goals from Darwin Nunez and Mo Salah gave Liverpool a two-goal lead but a brace from Vinicius Junior saw the La Liga giants go in level at the break.

An Eder Militao header soon had Real Madrid ahead early in the second half before two more goals from Karim Benzema killed off the match at Anfield.

Responding to the criticism of their defending, Van Dijk said: “Losing is never good and the way we lost today to almost not giving ourselves a chance in Madrid is tough.

“We played against Real Madrid, holders of the Champions League, quality players all over the team they can punish you and mistakes you make.

“Mistakes happen we are not robots and unfortunately it is the case. The only thing we can do is learn from it and focus on the next one to make sure it doesn’t happen.

“Don’t panic, obviously don’t be happy we lost, that’s how it should be but we have to recover now and focus on Crystal Palace.

“You play football also with your head but obviously it’s a football thing, you make mistakes and they punish you and that’s the case.

“Obviously they have the quality, they are one of the biggest clubs in the world and they punish you, that’s what they did to us today.

“We have almost an impossible job in Madrid in three weeks time but when the time is right we’ll focus and we will give everything and represent the club as best as we can.

“Until then we will try to keep improving and focus on Crystal Palace of course.”

The result means Liverpool have to score at least three goals at the Bernabeu in the return leg to go through and Klopp admits it will be a huge task.

Klopp tole reporters: “I think Carlo [Ancelotti]  thinks the tie is over – and I think it as well in the moment.

“But in three weeks – that is how it is in these moments – the closer you get to the game, the bigger our chances become and the less likely that the tie is over.

“But tonight with a 5-2 when you see the game, they are pretty good in counter-attacking… we have to score there three goals and take some risks. That could be a bit tricky.

“But it’s really not in my mind so we go there, I can say that now already, and try and win the game.

“If that’s possible or not right now I don’t know but that’s what we will try and from there we will see.”

READ MORE: At least Liverpool can now concentrate on qualifying for the Europa Conference