Former Arsenal midfielder Paul Merson has slammed Liverpool defender Virgil van Dijk for his performance against Manchester United on August 22.The Dutch defender was partly at fault for the Red Devils’ first goal in their 2-1 win at Old Trafford against the Reds.
Jadon Sancho dummied James Milner as he went in for a challenge and finished neatly past Alisson to hand Manchester United the lead. Van Dijk was seen standing with his hands behind his back, making no attempt to block the shot.
This earned him criticism from fans and pundits alike and Merson has now slammed the centre-back as well. In his column for the Daily Star, he wrote:
“Virgil van Dijk is a Rolls-Royce and never in your wildest dreams would you imagine him to do what he did the other night at Old Trafford. If he was on trial at Liverpool and that was a practice match, he wouldn’t be coming back next week. That’s how bad it was.”
Van Dijk, 31, joined the Reds from Southampton for £75 million and has arguably been one of the best defenders in the world since then. He has played 185 matches for Jurgen Klopp’s side, helping them win the Premier League and Champions League titles, among other honors.However, the Dutchman has come under criticism for his performances so far this season. He gave away a penalty in Liverpool’s 2-2 draw against Fulham. He also could have done better against Wilfried Zaha in their 1-1 draw against Crystal Palace.
The Red Devils started the campaign in terrible fashion, losing against Brighton & Hove Albion and Brentford. But they were able to beat their arch-rivals Liverpool in their last game.
Merson believes that their match against Southampton at St. Mary’s Stadium is really important as they need to replicate their performance against the Reds. While he believes the hosts can pull off an upset, he has backed Manchester United to win 2-1.
For Jurgen Klopp’s side, meanwhile, Merson believes facing newly-promoted Bournemouth will be a walk in the park. The Merseysiders are still searching for their first win of the season. The former Arsenal man believes they’ll get it with a 3-0 scoreline against the Cherries.