Jamie Carragher names Virgil van Dijk’s main weakness
Former Liverpool defender Jamie Carragher thinks that Virgil van Dijk’s lack of intensity is his main weakness.
Van Dijk is widely regarded as the best center-back in the Premier League but he was not at his brilliant best on Monday night when Liverpool were beaten 2-1 by Manchester United.
The Dutchman was criticized for his role in United’s first goal at Old Trafford.
Van Dijk stood on the edge of the six-yard box with his legs firmly planted and his arms behind his back as Jadon Sancho cooly placed a shot into the net from near the penalty spot.
Liverpool captain James Milner, who seconds earlier had slid to the floor in a desperate effort to tackle Sancho, was then seen arguing with Van Dijk.
“That’s your ball,” Milner shouted at his teammate, appearing to suggest that Van Dijk should have closed Sancho down.
Analyzing the incident after the match on Sky Sports, Carragher agreed that Van Dijk should have done more.
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Carragher said: “Milner, in some ways, panics too much by throwing himself [to the floor] because he is actually in front [of Sancho]. But Van Dijk’s got to come out.
“There’s only one thing I’d ever question Virgil van Dijk on. If you go through a checklist as a center-back, he’s 10/10 for most things.
“But one thing I do sometimes think is: ‘Does he lack a bit of intensity at certain times?’
“I even think of the Champions League final, with the cross that came in and he was just hanging his leg out.
“And against Crystal Palace… I know you never see him on the floor and that’s a strength for a defender. A defender being on the floor all the time is not a good sign. But now and again when you are in the proverbial you’ve got to throw yourself at it.
“Crystal Palace was one of those when he had to just go to the floor and make a block.
“And that one there [before the Sancho goal] is one you’ve got to go flying out and just throw yourself at him, slide along the floor, make yourself as big as possible.
“You can’t just stand there. He almost made himself smaller by the way he stood.
“That is the one thing that I sometimes think [about Van Dijk].”
The author of 5 books, 3 of which are New York Times bestsellers. I’ve been published in more than 100 newspapers and magazines and am a frequent commentator on NPR.