Ronald Koeman identifies where Liverpool FC star Virgil van Dijk can improve

The Netherlands manager wants Liverpool FC star Virgil van Dijk to make a key improvement to his game

The Sport Review staff
By The Sport Review staff
Liverpool FC star Virgil van Dijk Photo: Virgil van Dijk / Instagram

Ronald Koeman has challenged Liverpool FC centre-half Virgil van Dijk to be less “laid back” in order to improve his game.

The Netherlands international has established himself as one of the top defenders in Europe since his big-money move to Liverpool FC at the start of 2018.

Van Dijk became the world’s most expensive defender after Liverpool FC signed the Dutch centre-half in a £75m deal from Southampton in the January transfer window.

The 27-year-old’s impact on the Liverpool FC defence was notable after Jurgen Klopp’s side stemmed the flow of goals conceded to make progress in the Champions League and the Premier League.

Indeed, the former Celtic star produced two big performances to help Liverpool FC ease to a 5-1 aggregate win over Manchester City in the Champions League quarter-finals.

Van Dijk was instrumental as Liverpool FC reached the European Cup final before a 3-1 loss to Real Madrid, which was a result of Loris Karius’ two errors in goal.

The Liverpool FC record signing has helped the Reds to challenge Manchester City and Chelsea FC in the Premier League title race in the opening months of the season.

However, Netherlands manager Koeman identified one area where Van Dijk can improve for both club and country.

“I told Virgil within 30 seconds of the end of the game against France what I thought,” Koeman is quoted as saying by the Daily Star.

“I know him so well – and that means I know where all his little faults are.

“Virgil has to improve. Not a lot. But sometimes he is a little too laid back. That needs to change.

“There are moments as a defender when you should be no more than three feet away from the striker you are marking.

“And, particularly in Van Dijk’s case, because of the strength and power he has he is too laid back.

“On Monday, when he arrived in our training camp in Zeist, he could see from the look on my face that I was thinking about the foul he made when Liverpool played Man City on Sunday.

“The tackle cost his team a penalty and Virgil realised that he had made the wrong decision.

“It will not affect his chances with me. He is still my main man, but I want him to get better.”

Van Dijk has helped Liverpool FC to maintain an unbeaten start to the Premier League season following six victories and two stalemates.

The Dutch centre-half marshalled Jurgen Klopp’s defence superbly in a 1-1 draw with Chelsea FC at Stamford Bridge last month.

Van Dijk escaped without punishment last weekend after the Liverpool FC star brought down Leroy Sane to concede an 86th-minute penalty against Manchester City.

However, Riyad Mahrez fired his spot-kick attempt over the crossbar to spare Van Dijk and leave the top of the table clash at 0-0.

Van Dijk will be hoping to rack up back to back clean sheets when Liverpool FC take on Huddersfield Town in their next Premier League game on Saturday 20 October.

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