Liverpool legend John Barnes has seemingly hit back at Dutch icon Marco van Basten for questioning Reds defender Virgil van Dijk and his role for the Netherlands.Van Dijk has been a stalwart in the Reds’ defense since joining them from Southampton for £75 million in 2018. He has played 190 matches in all competitions for the club, helping them win seven trophies in the process.
However, the center-back has been put under the microscope after making an underwhelming start to the 2022-23 season. He has received major criticism for his substandard performances, with some suggesting it is the reason for the Merseyside outfit’s poor form this term.
Van Basten is among those who have found fault with Van Dijk this season, questioning his role for the Netherlands. The Dutch icon feels that he takes the least initiative among Louis van Gaal’s defenders in the team’s build-up.
Barnes, though, has dismissed Van Basten’s claims by insisting that Van Dijk takes the lead when he is with Jurgen Klopp’s side. The Anfield great believes it is only normal for players to play differently according to the demands of the teams they are playing for. He told Bonus Code Bets:
“He [Van Dijk] takes the lead at Liverpool because that’s the way Liverpool play.”
“Obviously Holland are different and that’s why I’ll never look at Harry Maguire or any of the England players and say the way they play for their clubs is different because their clubs play different football.”
“Holland plays completely differently to Liverpool, so of course, he’s going to be a different kind of player.”
Barnes went on to take a subtle dig at Van Basten by asserting that he does not care what the Ajax legend says as long as Van Dijk fares well for the Reds. He said:
“I’m concerned with Virgil Van Dijk for Liverpool and he’s been Liverpool’s most consistent player since he’s been there so I have no issues with how well he does or what Marco Van Basten thinks about him when he plays for Holland.”
How have Liverpool fared this season?
Klopp and Co. began the season with a 3-1 win against Manchester City in the Community Shield. However, they have since struggled for form in both the Premier League and UEFA Champions League.The Anfield outfit find themselves sitting eighth in the league table with nine points. They have won two, drawn three and lost one of their six matches so far and are notably winless away from home.They began their Champions League campaign with a heavy 4-1 defeat to Napoli earlier this month. They have since gone on to beat Ajax 2-1 at home and will be looking to build on the momentum.