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“What am I supposed to do”- Liverpool’s Virgil van Dijk hits back at Marco van Basten

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Liverpool defender Virgil van Dijk responds to Marco van Basten’s comments

Leading the Netherlands in the World Cup, Liverpool defender Virgil van Dijk has had a decent tournament up to this point. In both of Holland’s games so far, even though van Dijk has not been a standout, he has been relatively rigid in the backline for Louis van Gaal’s side.

However, in their second group stage game against Ecuador after beating Senegal 2-0, even though they got an early lead, the Dutch saw themselves set back early in the second half by a goal from Enner Valencia and hence, had to do with a draw instead of a win.

For the goal conceded, van Dijk’s positioning was questionable. It is a grey area as Jurrien Timber lost the ball in a delicate space and the right-back was pushing upfront leaving Liverpool’s #4 in a very delicate spot wherein if he rushed, Pervis Estupinán could have squared the ball for an easy tap-in for any of Ecuador’s players.

Liverpool's Virgil van Dijk in action for the Netherlands against Ecuador in the 2022 FIFA World Cup.
Liverpool’s Virgil van Dijk in action for the Netherlands against Ecuador in the 2022 FIFA World Cup.

Netherlands’ icon Marco van Basten criticised van Dijk for not committing to his player despite not having a right-back to cover and blasted his captaincy for being a “spectator” rather than taking action in the run of play.

However, big Virg, when asked about van Basten’s comments in his post-match interview, was quick to shut him off. Here is what he had to say, via The Mirror:

“I don’t think he is ever positive, so what am I supposed to do with it? It’s easy to talk from the studio. Me failing as a captain? What do you want me to do with that info? I am always up front. I lead the team the best way possible.”

Big Virg not at his best?

Ever since his ACL injury back in 2020, there has been a feeling that van Dijk has not been at his best and has played safe to avoid another injury scare like that. That is one of the reasons why he has not been committing to the ball so much.

Virgil van Dijk in action against Ecuador in the World Cup.
Virgil van Dijk in action against Ecuador in the World Cup.

The Reds have conceded a number of goals in this fashion, with Jadon Sancho’s goal earlier this season and Vincius Jr.’s goal in last season’s UEFA Champions League final some of the most glaring examples.

There is absolutely no doubt about the player’s skill level as such, but the fact that there seems to be a pattern in the goals he is conceding is something which could be alarming, and other teams could target him for the same.

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Hopefully, Van Dijk sorts what seems like his only weakness out as quickly as possible and re-establish himself as one of the all-time greats after a blip in form for the majestic figure this season.