The poor performance that Virgil van Dijk gave in Liverpool’s 2-2 draw with Arsenal this past weekend brought him back into the spotlight and rekindled the discussion about his form. Both Arsenal goals were partially attributable to the center-back’s careless deflection of Martin Odegaard’s pass to Gabriel Martinelli, who misplaced Gabriel Jesus in the Liverpool penalty area for the second goal. His mistake-inclined show was the most recent in a long queue this season; however, what is behind his battles? And are they evidence of a decline or merely a brief dip in form? After the game, Jamie Carragher came to his defense, arguing that Van Dijk is a “far better” defender than Nemanja Vidic and that, along with Kevin De Bruyne, he has been “the best player in the league” over the past four seasons.
Is Virgil van Dijk on the decline or simply out of form?
In addition, Carragher asserted that Van Dijk, who is 31 years old, is simply having a “poor season” in his career, “like all players,” including Rio Ferdinand and John Terry. Carragher also stated that Van Dijk’s impact at Liverpool was the most significant by any center-back in Premier League history. Van Dijk’s impact at Liverpool, where he signed for £75 million from Southampton during the 2017/18 season, is undeniable. The Champions League and Premier League were won in the subsequent two years. Van Dijk played a crucial role in the change.
Even though Van Dijk’s previous dominance makes his decline even more concerning, evaluating in the context of Liverpool’s season is essential. He is critical of the 2019 Ballon d’Or voting; he came in second only to Lionel Messi. He has been on the PFA Team of the Year in three of the last four seasons; he only didn’t play in 2020/21 because of a cruciate knee injury.
Liverpool’s diminished physical vigor There are issues all over the field for Jurgen Klopp, and the majority are caused by the team’s diminished collective physical vigor. After the exhausting endeavors of last season, and with the profile of their crew maturing, the fierce squeezing that supported Liverpool’s past progress under Klopp has just been found in patches. Thus, a side positioned top in the Head Association in many measurements connected with squeezing last season has seen their numbers droop decisively in the momentum crusade. As per Opta, Liverpool is enlisting less packed arrangements and constraining less high turnovers, their numbers dropping from 20.2 and 11.7 per game to 16.1 and 9.4 per game separately.
The injury to Van Dijk’s hamstring occurred on his third Liverpool appearance in just eight days following the tournament, in which he had played five times in 19 days.
These problems stem from Liverpool’s attack and midfield, where they no longer press opponents or regain possession with the same efficiency. Their average for opposition passes allowed per defensive action, a metric that measures how frequently a team attempts to disrupt their opponents’ passing sequences, has changed even more dramatically, going from 9.9 the season before to 11.4 this year. Liverpool’s issues in midfield and assault have, undoubtedly, added to Van Dijk’s battles, yet they don’t make sense of them. The Dutchman needs to examine himself as well.
Liverpool’s issues in midfield and assault have, without a doubt, added to Van Dijk’s battles, yet they don’t make sense of them completely.
The Dutchman needs to examine himself as well. Indeed, even lower-positioning groups such as Bournemouth, Brentford, and Nottingham Timberland have figured out how to cause him critical issues this season, and many of his blunders have been fundamental ones the rehashed slips of fixation making his emanation blur. After putting in a lot of effort during the previous season, when they played in every game they could, Liverpool has been physically and mentally exhausted. Their attempt to win a quadruple continued into the season’s final weeks but ended in defeat.
He is so important to Liverpool that he will almost always be used when available, and the same holds for international competitions. Van Dijk is the captain of the Netherlands. After a six-week break, he had to be brought right back into the Liverpool team, starting eight games before missing the goalless draw with Chelsea. His performance in their next match, against Arsenal, demonstrated that he required a more extended rest. Still, given that Liverpool is attempting to finish as high as possible in the Premier League in the remaining weeks of the season, it appears unlikely that he will receive it anytime soon.