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Richard Dunne says Virgil van Dijk is the problem in Liverpool’s defence

Richard Dunne critical of Virgil van Dijk.

Richard Dunne has stated Virgil van Dijk may be the main problem in Liverpool’s defence, on the back of the club’s Champions League hammering at the hands of Real Madrid.

Van Dijk played the full 90 minutes on Tuesday night, as Liverpool blew an early 2-0 lead before eventually losing 5-2 the European champions.

There was an element of slapstick about a number of the goals that Jurgen Klopp’s side conceded, with much of the finger-pointing being aimed at Van Dijk’s central-defensive partner Joe Gomez.

However, according to Dunne, it’s the once-imperious Dutchman who may be the biggest source of Liverpool’s defensive woes.

Richard Dunne: “The problem is Virgil van Dijk.”

“Everyone’s been looking at the defensive side of Liverpool in terms of [Joel] Matip and Gomez and Van Dijk needing a partner,” said the former Ireland defender, during Virgin Media’s Champions League coverage on Wednesday night.

“But the actual problem is possibly Van Dijk. I don’t think he’s recovered from his injury. I think when players run at him, he doesn’t put a tackle in anymore.

“You always see him putting his hands out and saying someone else should have done better, but you don’t see him intercepting anymore, you don’t see him winning balls on the halfway line, you don’t see last-ditch tackles, there’s just a passiveness to his defending.

“He’s one of those players where you think eventually he’ll recover and get back to where he was, but there’s a couple of seasons now where there’s no real sign that things are changing and the odd time he’ll nip in and win the ball back.

Ibrahima Konate.

Dunne went on to suggest that Ibrahima Konate is now the man that should be leading Liverpool’s defence, once the Frenchman returns from injury.

“He [Van Dijk] sort of changed his whole style of defending to be more of a co-ordinator, directing people where he thinks they should be going, instead of actually making those tackles, being a big, strong centre-half and getting stuck into stuff.

“He just seems to be very passive. Konate is someone who can do it, maybe he’s the one that they’re missing and they need to build a defence around Konate rather than Van Dijk.”


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Jamie Carragher hits back.

Dunne isn’t the first former Premier League centre-back to heavily-criticise Van Dijk this week, with ex-Liverpool defender Jamie Carragher also hitting out at the 31-year-old on CBS Sports.

“What makes me laugh, Virgil van Dijk said I wouldn’t get into this back four,” said Carragher, recalling Van Dijk’s comments on The Overlap with Gary Neville a few months ago.

“Right now I’d be taking his place,” added the pundit.

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