Virgil van Dijk acknowledges that he went through a difficult period. The 31-year-old defender has always been a rock at the English top club since his move from Southampton to Liverpool, but was faced with heavy criticism for the first time at the beginning of this season. “I know I could do better. I’m not naive, I also know very well that I make mistakes,” said van Dijk.
After Liverpool’s defeat to Manchester United (2-1) among other things, Van Dijk received considerable criticism from analysts such as Jamie Carragher and Gary Neville. Two weeks later, the defender experienced a disaster evening with Liverpool in the Champions League visiting Napoli, which treated the team of manager Jürgen Klopp to a hopeless 4-1 defeat. Van Dijk visibly struggled with his form in the early season. “With the away game against Napoli as the low point, both for the club and for me personally,” Van Dijk said General Newspaper. “Hopefully that was also a tipping point. Later against Ajax and now with the Dutch against Poland it went well. That certainly offers something to build on and build trust from.”
Van Dijk shows guilt and believes that the criticism of him was justified at the time. “I know I could do better. I’m not naive, I know full well that I make mistakes. That happens in football, everyone knows that. But fun is different.” The the Dutch captain acknowledges that it was a difficult period for him mentally. “I also know that I am one of the important players, at my club and at the the Dutch squad. I also feel that responsibility very much. I try to show the very best version of myself every game, every training session. But sometimes that is not so easy.”
Klopp demanded from his players that Liverpool against Ajax (2-1 win) in the Champions League would show a reaction. The English showed a much better appearance at Anfield against the team of trainer Alfred Schreuder and Van Dijk continued his good form on Thursday evening in the Nations League match with Poland (0-2 win). “In that week leading up to the match against Ajax, we had a really good talk with each other… That doesn’t mean it can’t happen again in the future, a lesser match is always possible. But the basis is to all have the same focus.”
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