Former Liverpool midfielder Danny Murphy has claimed that their £240k-a-week star is struggling at the moment but reveals it should only be temporary.
The Reds battled out a very entertaining goalless draw with their Merseyside rivals Everton at the weekend, but they still could have lost the game.
Form is proving hard to come by and the pressure is being felt by their top stars too. Virgil Van Dijk is usually their safe haven but he’s had more moments discussed in six games than perhaps most of last season combined in the league.
Danny Murphy on Van Dijk
Murphy, speaking on TalkSport, addressed Liverpool’s poor form and spoke about their towering centre half Van Dijk. He claimed the defender has dropped his levels and that he could still be struggling psychologically from his horrific injury in the 2020/21 season.
He’s not up to his level. Before his injury he was arguably looking like one of the best centre-halves we’ve ever seen,” ex-Anfield ace Murphy said on talkSPORT.
“The injury, which is a huge one and he’s come back from, although he’s not had problems in missing games I think psychologically he’s not in the same place. What I mean by that is not wanting to be as physically engaged with players and tackles, although he had the studs one at the weekend. He’s playing within himself a little bit and protecting himself a little bit without knowing it.”
He was referring to the yellow card he received for a late tackle on Everton’s Amadou Onana in the derby, which many believed should have been a red card. Perhaps a decision he was lucky to get away with.
We are again talking about someone who has set ridiculously high standards and even when he’s dropping below them at the moment he’s still brilliant compared to a lot of other centre-halves. But it just seems like he’s within himself and I don’t know if he even knows why himself, sometimes you can just fall into a trap.
It’s another case of the cream rising to the top, he’ll be back.”
Van Dijk still remains a powerful, intimidating presence but it’s clear that there have been quite a few moments which can be considered out of character. Perhaps it’s just natural that after years of an incredibly high level, that he will have poor moments at some point.
The main issue is that they are becoming more frequent. Although, Liverpool’s injuries have played their part on the whole side, not just Van Dijk, and it seems once they welcome back more and more players they can look to re-discover that winning touch.