Steve McManaman among multiple pundits taking aim at Liverpool star who ‘seems to give up’ in damaging Bournemouth defeat

Virgil van Dijk Liverpool 2023 TEAMtalk1 Credit: Alamy
Virgil van Dijk Liverpool 2023 TEAMtalk1 Credit: Alamy

Peter Crouch and Steve McManaman were among the pundits to lay into Liverpool defender Virgil van Dijk after his poor display against Bournemouth.

The Reds were looking to build on their 7-0 hammering of Manchester United last weekend but left Vitality Stadium pointless. Philip Billing scored the only goal of the game on 28 minutes while Mohamed Salah missed a penalty. The result leaves the Merseysiders six points adrift of fourth-placed Tottenham but with a game in hand.

Jurgen Klopp’s side were a shadow of the one that dismantled United. And Van Dijk came in for particular criticism.

He was comfortably shrugged off by Cherries winger Dango Ouattara in the lead up to the goal. And former Liverpool striker Peter Crouch was unimpressed.

“It was disappointing,” he told BT Sport. “Van Dijk seems to give up, Trent Alexander-Arnold switches off and it’s too, too easy for Bournemouth.”

The Anfield giants had taken 13 of 15 possible points prior to their trip to the south coast.

But ex-Red McManaman believes it may be a case of back to the drawing board after Saturday’s display.

“All the bad habits have come back, they are really lethargic,” he said. “This high line they keep doing, gambling to play offside, they have been terrible, really, really poor and they have to liven up.”

Fingers all pointed at Van Dijk

Van Dijk has been lauded as one of the best defenders in the Premier League since his arrival in January 2018.

The Netherlands interantional has won the Premier League, FA Cup, EFL Cup and Champions League during his stint in red.

READ MORE: Dejected Klopp turns spotlight on Salah and Van Dijk after Liverpool superstars endure Bournemouth nightmares

He captained the side at Bournemouth as Jordan Henderson started on the bench.

And another former Liverpool player, Joe Cole, was unhappy with the way the defender reacted after the Cherries winner.

“It’s a simple ball over the top. He gets back in but now he needs to switch on, he should be in business,” he said on BT Sport.

“When have we ever seen Virgil van Dijk just stroll past someone in that situation? He just switches off.

“Look at that reaction, you don’t want that from your captain.”

It is not the first time this season that Van Dijk has been criticised. His displays have mirrored those of Liverpool in general, with the Reds now having lost eight league games in 2022-2023.

They looked to have turned a corner with the Red Devils thrashing. But there is still much work to do to ensure they play Champions League football next term.

Klopp aware of defensive failings

Van Dijk has generally been a rock at the back for the north-west giants.

The former Southampton man has been integral to the club’s recent success. But Klopp pointed a thinly-veiled barb at the 31-year-old after the match.

“You cannot go through [the Liverpool line] completely, pass the ball, don’t cover the space,” he said.

“I need to watch it back but in the end a ball comes from the outside to the inside and it probably should be defendable as well.”

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