Connect with us

The True Herald


Sport

Virgil van Dijk reminder for Liverpool as centre-back decision looms – Liverpool Echo

Spread the love

https://www.liverpoolecho.co.uk/sport/football/football-news/virgil-van-dijk-reminder-liverpool-19881807

Spread the love

Centre-back decision must be made

An unprecedented, asterisk-laden season has already thrown up a plethora of statistician anomalies for Liverpool.

But one emerged here that highlighted why the consistency of last term has been glaringly absent.

This was the first time Jurgen Klopp has named an unchanged starting line-up since the Premier League title was lifted in memorable fashion.

The Champions League win over RB Leipzig in Budapest had at least stopped the rot after three successive defeats realistically ended hopes of defending the championship.

And Klopp’s show of faith meant there was a further outing for the centre-back pairing of Jordan Henderson and new signing Ozan Kabak.

It lasted all of 30 minutes before Henderson, tussling with Abdoulaye Doucoure, pulled up lame with a groin problem, leaving Liverpool without their three main centre-backs and two chief defensive midfielders.

No team can cope with that.

What didn’t help was Kabak having a bit of a nightmare first half. While by no means the only player to struggle with the swirling wind, his needless concession of a corner in the opening seconds set the tone, caught square for Richarlison’s opener moments later.

Intriguingly, he improved – and as did Liverpool as a whole – once Nat Phillips replaced the stricken Henderson, the substitute quietly assured.

Who knows. Maybe playing with two recognised centre-backs could be the way forward for the remainder of the season for the Reds.

Van Dijk offers painful reminder

If Virgil van Dijk’s presence on the sidelines was supposed to offer a reminder of what happened the last time Liverpool and Everton met, it instead served to underline an issue that is now debilitating the Reds to a worrying degree.

Yes, Van Dijk has been sorely missed for his defensive qualities. As the best player in the world in his position, that’s hardly a surprise.

But where the Dutchman’s absence is also being felt is as a leader. And Liverpool are lacking them right now.

Must-read Liverpool FC news

When skipper Jordan Henderson limped off, he joined vice-captain James Milner and ‘third’ captain Van Dijk on the sidelines.

Support Our News Campaign

Shop our Store

Click Here To Shop

When in times of crisis – and, let’s make no bones about it here, Liverpool are deep, deep in one – such characters are to whom the squad turns.

Nor can they rely on the Anfield support, stripping the Reds of one of their continued advantages in these fixtures.

Liverpool need others to step up. And it was here that Klopp could take some genuine encouragement from the evening, with Trent Alexander-Arnold taking it upon himself to shoulder the burden of responsibility with an impressive performance.

The Reds need more of that because there’s no cavalry arriving, whether in the stands or from the treatment room.

Klopp happy to see back of Blues

Jurgen Klopp hadn’t lost a derby going into this season.

Now he must surely be delighted he doesn’t have to cross swords with Everton again until next term.

As was feared at the time, the Goodison meeting in October has had a long-lasting effect on Liverpool’s ability to defend their title.

It also proved a microcosm of what is happening to the Reds, with injuries, VAR controversy and the concession of some rather avoidable goals.

Four months on, clearly little has changed.

Get all the latest Liverpool breaking news, team news, transfer rumours, injury updates plus analysis of what’s next for the Reds.

You’ll also get the latest transfer talk and analysis straight to your inbox every day with our FREE email newsletter.

Sign up here – it only takes a few seconds!

With Jordan Pickford damaging Liverpool in a more acceptable manner – a superb save from Jordan Henderson first half was followed by a brave block to deny Mohamed Salah after the interval – it shone a spotlight on arguably the Reds most concerning ongoing failing.

Liverpool may have been better going forward, but they still haven’t scored a goal from open play at Anfield since December 27.

Rediscovering their goalscoring touch at home is the Reds’ most immediate aim.

And ensuring another derby disappointment isn’t allowed to again shape their season is surely another.

Subscribe to the newsletter news

We hate SPAM and promise to keep your email address safe

Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Top Stories

Trending Stories

To Top