talkSPORT pundit Ally McCoist points out the reasons that Liverpool are struggling
As quoted by Liverpool Echo, talkSPORT pundit and former Scotland striker Ally McCoist has listed behind the underperformance of Liverpool in the 2022/23 season.
McCoist believes the Reds are yet to cope with the departure of Sadio Mane and that defender Virgil van Dijk has not returned to his best since the ACL injury he suffered against Everton back in October 2020.
While the Mane point is valid, not helped by the fact that his replacement Luis Diaz has been out of action since October of last year, van Dijk’s dip in form was coming.
Before moving on, have a read as to what the former Rangers and Scotland striker said (h/t Liverpool Echo):
“It’s needed it [the midfield refresh] for a while now. I’m sorry to keep harping on about it, they really miss Sadio Mane, they really, really miss him like you’ve no idea.
“They’ve bought players with good quality but not the same quality. I’ll say it again, [Virgil] van Dijk’s not the same player, I know he never played at the weekend but even at the World Cup and I’m watching him – great player but he’s not where he was before the injury.”
When van Dijk missed the major portion of the 2020/21 season, the drop-off in Liverpool’s defensive performance was there for everyone to see. He came back last season and what happened? The Reds amassed 92 points in the league, along with reaching the Champions League Final and winning both cup competitions.
It was almost superhuman from the Dutchman to come back from a near career-ending injury and produce performances at the highest level consistently last season. So far, this season he has already come off as human.
Compound that with the fact Liverpool did not sign a midfielder in the summer, they exposed van Dijk more than they ever did in the past. Now, if the opposition has a free pass to attack your defence multiple times every game, you have no chance.
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So, while it is easy to point out the reasons from the radio studio, there are more contributing factors behind the underperformance of Jurgen Klopp’s men this season. The manager has hinted that there will be changes in the summer. Let’s hope it is for the good of the team.