When Virgil van Dijk joined Liverpool in a record breaking deal of £75m, everyone was thinking that Liverpool’s defensive flaws will now be over. The disappointing draw against the Spurs along with the two humiliating losses in the previous four games have sharply checked such an expectation.
The former Southampton defender looked very promising when he began his first match for Liverpool. They won the game by 2-1 against Everton and he also scored his first goal for the Reds. However, the subsequent matches have not gone well for both Van Dijk and Liverpool.
He has been featured thrice by Jurgen Klopp out of the previous five matches and Liverpool have not tasted a victory in any of those matches. The two games against Swansea City and West Bromwich Albion were humiliating defeats for the team. While the two games in which the Anfield’s side won were the ones in which he was not playing due to some minor injury.
Virgil Van Dijk came under a lot of fire particularly during the Spurs match when he conceded a penalty and Liverpool had to settle for a disappointing draw at their home.
So the defensive flaws have not ended with the arrival of Van Dijk. However, such an expectation from a single player is flawed in itself. What Jurgen Klopp said after the draw of his team against Sevilla in a Champions League group match in September looks to be the most reasonable say on this matter.
“I know here you’re always looking for this thing about the defence … that these problems will have been sorted with one player. It’s not about this.”
Klopp has rightly claimed that the best of Van Dijk for Liverpool could only be seen in the next season. He believes that the defender will need time in order to adapt at Liverpool.
Right now Van Dijk will be returning to his former home as Liverpool will be up against Southampton at St. Mary’s Stadium. Klopp has warned him to expect an unfriendly reception at his former home ground. However, he insists that he has no concern over such a reception.
“Maybe they can boo the whole game. What can you do about it? You can’t do anything. I made the decision, I have enjoyed every bit of it and I am very grateful for everything that they [Southampton] did for me. I have moved on, they have moved on.”
His team will be fiercely looking for a win after a disappointing run in order to keep themselves in the top four. Right now they are one point ahead of Chelsea and one point behind Tottenham having played one extra game. On the other hand, Southampton are at the sixteenth position but they have not lost any in the previous six games.