Football fans on Twitter were quick to compare Virgil van Dijk to Manchester United defender Harry Maguire after Ajax scored against Liverpool on Tuesday (September 13).The Netherlands international allowed a shot from midfielder Mohammed Kudus to find the back of the net in the UEFA Champions League group stage fixture at Anfield. The goal leveled the scoreline at 1-1 just 10 minutes after Mohamed Salah’s 17h-minute strike.
Van Dijk was seen with his hands behind his back as he tried to minimize the target in front of Kudus. The Ghana international, however, hit a rasping shot that hit the bar before finding its way past a hapless Alisson Becker.
Following the goal, fans on social media drew comparisons between Van Dijk and Maguire due to the former’s performances this season.The England international’s regular mistakes were one of the major reasons behind Manchester United missing out on a top-four finish in the league last season.
Manager Erik ten Hag did not strip away the captain’s armband when he replaced Ralf Rangnick this summer. However, he has dropped the Leicester City defender from his Premier League starting XI after the 4-0 defeat against Brentford on August 13.
Van Dijk has made a series of uncharacteristic errors this season, which includes conceding a penalty against Fulham in a 2-2 league draw.The former Southampton centre-back was at fault once again for failing to close down Jadon Sancho’s goal-bound shot in the 2-1 derby loss against Manchester United at Old Trafford.
Here are some of the best reactions from fans from Liverpool’s win against Ajax. The Reds won the game courtesy of a late header from Joel Matip, but that didn’t save Van Dijk from online criticism.
Virgil van Dijk highlights importance of Liverpool win against Ajax
Van Dijk was imperious in Liverpool’s 2-1 win against the Dutch outfit at Anfield. Even with Ajax’s goal, he was arguably well positioned to block any incoming effort from Kudus.
However, the midfielder’s powerful left-footed strike was hit in a manner where it was impossible to block or save once it took flight.
The Dutch defender also looked dangerous from set pieces and could have scored at the hour mark when a free header was hit straight into Remko Pasveer’s path.
Speaking after the game, Van Dijk highlighted the importance of Liverpool’s win after a 4-1 defeat against Napoli on matchday 1 of the Champions League. He said (h/t ThisIsAnfield):
“Obviously coming back from the horror show in Naples, it was very important for us to show a positive reaction. It’s not easy to turn it around, but this is a step in the right direction in my opinion.”
The Reds will now play next on October 1 in the Premier League against Brighton & Hove Albion.