Carragher claims Liverpool star is being ‘unfairly judged’ before World Cup – ‘hearing that for months’

Carragher defends Van Dijk Credit: Alamy
Carragher defends Van Dijk Credit: Alamy

Jamie Carragher has leapt to the defence of Virgil van Dijk as the Liverpool defender is being “unfairly judged” before the World Cup in Qatar.

The Dutchman’s form has dipped this term after returning near his best last season to help Liverpool win the FA Cup and Carabao Cup.

Inconsistency this campaign has marred the Reds and they now face a fight to end up in the top four by the time the season finishes.

Van Dijk missed much of the 2020/21 campaign after suffering a serious knee injury but he has managed to keep fit since then.

In a couple of weeks, his focus will switch to the World Cup as he looks to help the Netherlands progress far in the competition.

Before then, Liverpool face Tottenham Hotspur, Derby County and Southampton. Sunday’s game against Spurs is arguably a must-win for Liverpool.

Carragher thinks it “would be understandable” if Van Dijk had the World Cup on his mind and people judging him for this is “unfair”.

This game comes during the same week when Son Heung-Min and Ben Chilwell suffered injuries that will likely keep them out of the World Cup.

“Harry Kane going head-to-head with Virgil van Dijk should be one of the most exciting duels of the season,” Carragher wrote for The Telegraph.

“Instead, you can be sure that, whatever the outcome, if Kane or Van Dijk fail to meet their usual standards one or both will stand accused of ‘saving themselves’ for England or Holland.

“Van Dijk has been hearing that for months. Having missed the last European Championship because of serious injury, it would be understandable if – subconsciously at least – the competition was on his mind. Whether that is true or not, it is not fair on Van Dijk to be judged in such a way.”

These comments from Carragher come after Van Dijk appeared on Gary Neville’s YouTube show, The Overlap.

Naturally, the pair discussed Carragher and Van Dijk suggested that the Liverpool legend would not get into Jurgen Klopp’s current team.

“You’re not having him in the XI, are you?”

Van Dijk responded: “Not even in the full squad, the first 20. He will be in the stands!”

Neville said he agreed with Van Dijk but credited Carragher for always showing good spirit and fighting.

Van Dijk continued: “You have to think about it. You have two centre-backs playing, hopefully I’m playing and it’s Joe Gomez now [alongside].

“You have Joel Matip and Ibrahima Konate, you’re not going to put another centre-back in.

“[Carragher] played many games for Liverpool but in the modern game I think Matip and Konate would be ahead of him.”

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