Virgil van Dijk issued Liverpool warning after impressive Premier League start | Football | Sport
Former Liverpool defender Nick Tanner believes Virgil van Dijk and the whole Liverpool back four needs to get back to the very high standards they set last season.
Van Dijk, who Tanner rates as the best centre half in the world, joined Liverpool from Southampton in January 2018 and has transformed the Reds’ defence, helping them to last season’s Champions League trophy.
Liverpool are now eight points clear at the top of the Premier League after eight games though have only kept two clean sheets.
Joel Matip, Joe Gomez and Dejan Lovren have come on leaps and bounds when playing alongside Van Dijk.
And Tanner, who currently tops the world when it comes to Fantasy Premier League, believes the Dutch star needs to be wary of his own form.
“Liverpool have got four decent centre-backs now, Man City would love just one,” Tanner, who played for the Reds for six years from 1988, told Express Sport.
“Lovren played on Saturday and I thought he was head and shoulders above Van Dijk, but Van Dijk gets the praise all the time. Matip the same [as Lovren], I’m glad he got player of the month.
“Van Dijk does make mistakes too, all players do, unfortunately when defenders and keepers do it usually leads to a goal
“Van Dijk is dropping off a bit now and and Robertson and Trent Alexander-Arnold are pushing forward too often together – it’s causing issues. Matip got stick against Chelsea because they got in behind him but it was Van Dijk that was a yard behind.
“They need to get back defending as a unit rather than as individuals, VVD is superb but he also needs players around him.
“Without a shadow of doubt, Matip, Gomez and Lovren have been helped by Van Dijk. It’s not about one player it’s about partnerships. Van Dijk can’t do it on his own.”
Van Dijk was in the running for Fifa’s The Best award though was pipped to the crown by Lionel Messi.
The centre-back probably won’t mind that if he’s lifting Liverpool’s maiden Premier League title come May.
Nick Tanner currently works for https://www.mattersmagazines.co.uk which are community magazines covering South Gloucestershire and Chepstow. As part of their giving back to the community ethos, Nick is available for coaching in local schools free of charge. You can contact Nick at [email protected], all you need is a ball and a love of the game.