March 3, 2024
Bournemouth

Bournemouth

Virgil van Dijk was far from his best during the first half of Bournemouth vs. Liverpool at the Vitality Stadium on Saturday

Virgil van Dijk’s uncharacteristically sloppy defence in the buildup to Bournemouth’s opening goal against Liverpool on Saturday afternoon raised many eyebrows. The Reds started the game with the towering Dutchman partnering Ibrahima Konate at the back, but he was unable to prevent Bournemouth from taking an early lead, with Philip Billing shooting home from close range.

Virgil van Dijk
Virgil van Dijk

Van Dijk appeared to be poised to deal with Cherries winger Dango Ouattara as he sought to break down the right side of the pitch, but was caught off-guard as the latter dribbled by before finding Billing with a cross into the box. After he was beaten one-on-one, the Liverpool player looked to abandon the chase and did not bother to try to prevent Ouattara’s delivery, which left many fans perplexed on social media given his reputation as one of the Premier League’s best center defenders.

Jermaine Jenas, a co-commentator on BT Sport, showed his astonishment while running the rule over the incident, saying: “The whole situation was bizarre; Van Dijk would never have been treated this way in the past. He simply appeared tired.”

virgil-van-dijk-mohamed
virgil-van-dijk-mohamed

Many Twitter fans also shared their thoughts on the peculiar moment in which Van Dijk almost gave up on preventing Ouattara’s cross, with @HeritageCFC tweeting: “Van Dijk is a dirty man. Thiago Silva is incredibly precise.”

“They spent all week ridiculing [Lisandro] Martinez only for Van Dijk to get crushed by a Bournemouth winger,” @StretfordPaddck said, while @GraceOnFootball said: “Ouattara running past Van Dijk like that feels like something you never ever saw a few years ago.”

Other Reds fans also criticized the defender, with @SamueILFC tweeting: “Van Dijk needs to focus on his own errors rather than shouting at others because he’s been our worst player.”

Virgil van Dijk
Virgil van Dijk

@ShaunlfcT was even more critical of Van Dijk’s first-half performance, saying: “Get [Josko] Gvardiol for me. Van Dijk feels he’s too good to try, which irritates me. Trent [Alexander-Arnold] follows suit. They sometimes act like obstinate children.”

It remains to be seen whether Van Dijk can regain his former form in the coming weeks and months, with the Dutchman having to be at his best to help Liverpool secure a top-four finish in the Premier League this season. The Reds are now three points behind fourth-placed Tottenham, but they still have plenty of work to do to catch their north London rivals and secure a place in next season’s Champions League before the current season ends.

 

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