Liverpool may be increasingly concerned about the personal form of one of their usually most reliable operators in Virgil van Dijk following another torrid defeat in the Premier League.
The Merseysiders were completely outclassed by Manchester City, capitulating in unsurprising fashion in the second half of the action.
All of that said, it’s unclear if No.4’s woes are a temporary setback related to the team’s overall struggles or something more serious and long-lasting.
“Van Dijk, it has to be said, would be the first to admit that his own standards have not been up to scratch,” Neil Jones said of the Dutch international ‘outstanding’ in an article for GOAL.
“He knows that he has to do better and that his team needs him. Gullit and Van Basten may disagree, but few players are more conscientious, more fired up, than the 31-year-old when it comes to self-assessment.
“The question really is is this a short-term slump, related to team issues and the sheer volume of football he’s played since coming back from that knee injury, or is it something more serious, something more long term”.
With the lack of midfield presence having had such a wide-ranging impact on the team, it’s hard to separate the two factors.
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Indeed, Alisson Becker has arguably been the one consistent bright spot in the starting XI throughout a campaign that has completely defied expectations, which would suggest that Van Dijk’s struggles will be resolved to some degree if the club invests a lot in the summer.
The amount of surgery we will be able to undertake without Champions League football is up for debate, of course.
That said, Liverpool cannot afford to keep the bag tight this summer given the scale of the chasm that has already developed between us and the top four.
Hopefully we shouldn’t have to worry about bringing in a top-class center midfield beyond the new faces in midfield.
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